Traveling hours and hours just to search for old and seemingly abandoned items in an off-road garage might not seem like an ideal plan, unless your name is Mike Wolfe or Frank Fritz. The internationally famous “American Pickers” hosts have spent several seasons traveling the US to find just such hidden treasures of the country’s history, often in the most unexpected places.
However, given the light-hearted and comic nature of “American Pickers”, no one expected all the drama that came with Frank’s exit from the show, including not only his health struggles, but also the break-up of a decades-long friendship.
Despite that, many loyal “American Pickers” fans still have hopes of seeing him again in the show, but how possible is that? Keep with us to discover if Frank Fritz’s return to TV might happen anytime soon, as well as an update on his health, personal issues and much more!
How Is His Health Nowadays?
Whether you’re a loyal viewer of “American Pickers” or just casually watch it, you’ve surely noticed the absence of Frank Fritz in recent seasons. Although his firing from the show became official in mid-2021, his face had been missing from TV for a long while, for health reasons.
Although it’s known that Frank has been suffering from Crohn’s Disease for decades, it was back surgery he underwent in early 2020 which actually took him away from “American Pickers”. As he recalled in an interview with The Sun, his back issues were directly caused by his job: ‘It was from lifting stuff all the time. If you watch the show, you can see who the guy is that’s lifting all the time’.
According to Frank, he got ‘185 stitches and two rods’ in his back during the surgery, but was able to lift weight again by mid-2021. However, his recovery was long and hard, due to complications related to his Crohn’s Disease, but which he eventually overcame.
Is He Coming Back To The Show?
It’s no secret that people loved to see Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe together in the show. Not only were both hosts very good at their jobs, but also had an evident on-screen chemistry which usually brought the best out of them, making the entertaining and often comical duo, the main reason people tuned in to the show.
That being said, we unfortunately most likely won’t get to see Mike and Frank together again on TV anytime soon. As it happens, in 2021 Frank surprisingly affirmed that his former co-star and the show’s producers hadn’t talked to him in over two years, starting a months-long very public feud with Mike.
While that seems a good enough reason for “American Pickers” to not take him back in the show, in August 2021 Mike himself admitted that he had actually wanted to have Frank as his co-star again. However, Frank’s personal struggles made it impossible: ‘Frank is just going through a lot personally with addictions. It’s unfortunate that he’s made decisions that have him the way he is’.
Frank lost almost 70 pound while battling Crohn’s, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
For now, the professional relationship between Frank and Mike seems as broken as their friendship apparently is, but “American Pickers” fans don’t lose their hopes of seeing them together on TV sometime in the future.
Why Was He Fired?
It’s hard to describe Frank Fritz’s exit from “American Pickers” as a firing, but saying it was a willing leave on his part isn’t exactly accurate either. It all started in July 2021, when in an interview with The Sun, Frank revealed that his initial departure from the show was motivated by several factors, including his health problems: ‘I finished shooting, then I had a little back surgery and then the pandemic came’.
As many attentive viewers remember, we last saw Frank in the 21th season’s episode “Ghost of the West”, leaving Danielle Colby to replace him as a picker. Though fans anticipated Frank’s return, the season ended without much news about him, worrying his fans even more when he was still nowhere to be seen when the following season premiered in early 2021.
According to Frank, at that point he had recovered from his surgery, but no one from “American Pickers” called him, not even Mike, whom he affirmed wanted to get his brother Robbie to take Frank’s place as co-host: ‘It’s up to the network whether I come back on the show. It ain’t gonna affect me one bit. I didn’t leave the show’.
Though at the time Frank left his return to the show as an open possibility, a couple of days later, “American Pickers” announced he wasn’t coming back.
The Feud Between Him And Mike
Drama isn’t a rare occurrence for those involved in reality TV, but no one ever thought that such a light-hearted and humor-filled show such as “American Pickers” would fall into the same category.
However, it did, and involved both Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz. It started when Frank revealed that not only had Mike not contacted him, even when he was bed-ridden after back surgery, but also affirmed that his former co-star had ego problems related to his fame, despite the show being ‘tilted towards him 1,000 percent’, as he told The Sun: ‘I found my spot, I’m second and he’s number one on the show. That’s no problem with me, maybe he does have a problem’.
Not long afterwards, Mike wrote an Instagram post announcing Frank’s definite departure from “American Pickers”, thanking fans for their support, and claiming that he considered Frank ‘a brother’ and wished him ‘the very best’. However, this didn’t sit well with Frank, who once again went to The Sun to slam Mike: ‘(he) didn’t call me himself, never – like I said, we haven’t spoken for two years’.
Even if Mike never directly addressed Frank’s demeaning claims towards him, in a later interview he made sure fans knew that working together wasn’t possible for the time being: ‘I would love to talk with him again, I would absolutely love to, but he just can’t get it right’.
What Did Danielle Colby Have To Say?
Hearing all the harsh words mutually thrown between the co-stars, it was obvious that Danielle Colby would air her two cents worth about the situation sooner or later. The time came in early August 2021, when she expressed her sadness surrounding Frank’s exit on an Instagram post: ‘I wish things could have been different, but we must be accountable for our actions when we cause instability or pain and suffering to others’.
Despite not entirely explaining what ensued behind the scenes of “American Pickers”, she claimed that having witnessed ‘his struggles’ for a decade was ‘incredibly sad’. Though Danielle’s post made it clear that she supported Mike in the whole ordeal, it was also evident that she felt sympathy for Frank, despite implying that he’d caused ‘pain’ to the people around him: ‘It is not my place to speak ill of someone who needs help, so I will keep my comments uplifting’.
Nowadays, Danielle and Mike do their work as the show’s current on-site pickers quite well, but Frank’s absence is still too noticeable.
Crohn’s Disease And Weight Loss
Compared to the earliest seasons when Frank Fritz’ rounded-looking build and full cheeks, he now sports an evidently thinner frame. However, these changes aren’t recent, but many “American Pickers” fans still don’t know the reason behind it.
For starters, his drastic weight loss is directly related to the Crohn’s Disease he has been fighting since his teen years. People diagnosed with this disease suffer from several ailments, including inflamed digestive tracts, frequent diarrhea, abdominal pain and fatigue.
Another one of the most common Crohn’s symptoms is weight loss, which Frank has experienced in the last decade, becoming so evident that he had to address the issue back in 2013, after receiving too many questions about it: ‘at times it’s difficult to deal with’, he wrote on his Facebook page.
Nowadays, Frank has adopted a healthier lifestyle to deal with Crohn’s in a more effective way: ‘The weight loss is me watching what I’m eating, so I can keep my disease under control the best I can. I’m just eating healthily’, as he confessed to The Sun in 2021, also admitting to exercising more often than before.
While this disease has no cure, it’s relieving to know Frank that doesn’t let it stop his life.
As many people remember, in 2017 Frank Fritz was arrested for driving the wrong way on an Iowan highway. Upon being tested, the police determined alcohol and Xanax were in his system, and he was later found guilty of driving while intoxicated, and was sentenced to one year of probation, in addition to paying a fine and joining a substance control program.
Despite the unfortunate incident, Frank apparently remained loyal to his addiction tendencies for a couple of years until late 2019, when he entered a rehab program of his own accord. As he affirmed in an interview, the reason he was motivated to seek help was his own family’s struggles: ‘My mom was an alcoholic and she died five years ago and it was alcohol-related. My grandfather was an alcoholic and he died. That didn’t sit well with me’.
According to Frank, the 77 days he spent at The Abbey Center in Iowa weren’t wasted at all, as it included a good amount of counseling and ‘one-on-one time’ which helped him a lot: ‘It’s one of the best things that have happened to me’, he affirmed. The latest sober update we got from Frank was in July 2021, when he hadn’t tasted alcohol for 11 months, which goes in hand with his efforts to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Besides his widely commented feud with former “American Pickers” co-star Mike Wolfe, in recent times Frank Fritz has also been in the headlines for his harsh separation from his now former fiancee.
Reportedly, Frank and Diann Bankson had been dating since 2016, when he started sharing pics of her on his social media. In 2017 they became engaged and moved together into his then recently-bought home in Iowa. While from the outside, everything seemed to be going well for the couple, things were apparently very different behind closed doors. In 2018 Diann found him in bed with another woman, but forgave him and they reconciled.
Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come, as a couple of months later she suffered from three degree burns apparently caused by fireworks he failed to dispose of well at home. The accident left her with serious health issues, and she didn’t get his help in covering the health expenses, leading her to file a lawsuit against him in 2019, for being ‘negligent in the operation of fireworks’, asking $50,000.
What Happened To The Case?
Regardless of the difficult situation involving her and her now-former fiance, in 2020 Diann withdrew her case against him for unknown reasons. However, while the case was left there, the real drama was yet to come.
As it happens, information about the couple’s split, Frank’s alleged infidelity, and Diann’s case weren’t known by the general public until early 2021, when The Sun reported all these details. Frank addressed the issue a couple of months later, but claimed that he hadn’t cheated on his former fianceé, but it was the other way around: ‘She was cheating a lot longer than me. I had someone over at the house, but that’s all it was. She didn’t catch me in the act’.
Admitting to have got a tattoo to remember her alleged infidelity, the situation had evidently hit rock bottom. In a later interview, Diann denied Frank’s cheating accusation, but asked for some peace of mind, given that the situation had apparently been quite distressing for her. All in all, it was unfortunate that everything took such a depressing turn.
As if all the drama surrounding Frank Fritz’ exit from the show wasn’t enough, it seems that the issue brought other negative consequences to everyone involved.
Reportedly, “American Pickers” isn’t doing well rating-wise in its 23th season, with the audience decreasing as the season progressed.
While the first episode gathered around 1.050.000, following episodes plummeted down to below a million. Although this could be related to several causes, it’s logical to assume that the recent lack of enthusiasm regarding “American Pickers” is caused by Frank’s absence.
That being said, “American Pickers” cast and staff aren’t the only ones affected by this. As The Sun reported, Frank’s antique shop allegedly hasn’t been doing well recently, as the comments left on the business’ website by customers and visitors point out that the shop is lacking in the price and item variety aspects.
Could all of this be good reasons to give Frank another chance at the show? That’s yet to be known, but the only thing clear in this situation is that unfortunately, no one has emerged from these events unharmed.