"American Pickers" has come under fire by fans who slammed the show for its "secrecy" surrounding the notable absence of one of its stars, Frank Fritz.
Monday's episode generated much hype, but it was not related to the show specifically, but rather to questions regarding Fritz's whereabouts. The TV personality has not appeared on the History Channel’s "American Pickers" since March 2020 and viewers have been speculating that he may not return.
"Just tell us where the little dude is, why all the secrecy????" one Twitter user referencing Fritz replied to an "American Pickers" tweet promoting the new episode.
"Don't destroy your good guy brand by acting like Frank no longer exists. Doesn't reflect well on the show he helped build!" another added, while others questioned where Fritz was.
Addressing the speculation, Fritz opened up about the reasons why he had not made any recent appearances on the show. Speaking with The Sun, the reality TV star explained that he had to undergo back surgery last year.
"I didn’t leave the show, I finished shooting and then I had a little back surgery and the pandemic came," he said.
Whether he returns to the show is up to the network, Fritz noted, adding that it was not "gonna affect me one bit."
He has since recovered from the surgery, but Fritz explained that he had to have "a couple of rods put in there." The injury was because he was constantly lifting heavy items.
"If you watch the show you can see who the guy is that’s lifting all the time, it’s always me," he said. "It had been hurting for a long, long time. I’m talking months and months and months."
Fritz went on to claim that he had not spoken with his TV partner Mike Wolfe for about two years.
"He knew my back was messed up, but he didn’t call me up and ask how I was doing. That’s just how it is," he said.
Fritz did not share why the two had fallen out, but hinted at tension over their shared stardom on "American Pickers."
"The show is tilted towards him 1,000 percent. I can’t even bend that far down to show you how much," he said.
"That’s fine. It’s like you’ve got Aerosmith and there’s Steven Tyler and he’s the front man. I found my spot, I’m second and he’s number one on the show," Fritz added. "That’s no problem with me, maybe he does have a problem."
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