When someone on a long-running reality show leaves, their absence could very well have a noticeable impact. That's exactly what happened with Frank Fritz. For more than a decade, Frank was one of the main antique collectors on the History Channel series American Pickers. The ongoing show initially followed both Frank and fellow picker Mike Wolfe as they traveled the U.S. in search of antiques to either sell or keep.
American Pickers first premiered in 2010, with Frank and Mike having been featured in every season. However, the show experienced a substantial shake-up when Frank left the show in March 2020 and was fired a year later. Since his departure, both the show and Frank himself have hit troubled waters.
The current state of the show may just call for Frank's return, but is he even in any state to do so?
What happened to Frank Fritz on 'American Pickers'?
After more than a decade of antiquing on American Pickers, Frank was removed from the show. The decision came amid a string of tragic events for Frank.
In March 2020, he took a hiatus from the show to recover from back surgery. According to Radar, he would later check into rehab for alcohol abuse. He was subsequently fired from the show in July 2021. Although he expressed interest in returning one day, he suffered a severe stroke in July 2022.
After his stroke, Frank has been receiving in and out-patient care. According to the Des Moines Regular, he was put under temporary guardianship because the accident left him unable to care for himself and make important financial decisions. However, a friend of Frank's told the Quad City Times that he is "getting better every day."
On Memorial Day in 2023, Frank went out in public for the first time since having the stroke. He met up with Mike, among others, and seemed to be in good spirits. One of their friends shared with the Quad City Times that Mike said, "Nobody can replace you, Frank," adding that it was Frank's funny personality that made the duo such a great team.
Is Frank Fritz coming back to 'American Pickers'?
It would appear that Frank is still in no shape to return to the show any time soon, but his presence may be a key factor in saving American Pickers in its current state.
In 2023, The US Sun reported that American Pickers has seen ratings plummet for Season 24, which premiered on Jan. 4, 2024. Although the show moved from its previous Saturday timeslot to weekdays, the ratings have reportedly continued to fall with each subsequent episode. If anything, Frank's return might be the only thing that would boost ratings once more amid this crisis.
In fact, Mike seems to be open to the idea.
In an impromptu December 2022 interview with @CapitalPaparazzi on TikTok, Mike was asked if Frank would ever come back to the show.
"I would hope he's gonna be back on the show, but right now he needs to get healthier," Mike stated. He said that there's "absolutely hope" that Frank could return if his condition improves.
Mike also addressed ongoing reports about the rift between him and Frank leading up to his stroke.
"Frank and I are [still] friends," he said. "He was just at my brother's graduation for his kids right before he had his stroke. If anyone's thinking about Frank, they should be praying for him."
Catch new episodes of American Pickers on the History Channel.