Is 'Pawn Stars' Real? Holding Nothing Back about the Show
Pawn Stars is a whole other breed of reality television.
For its 16th season, the History Channel raised the episode runtime from 23 minutes to 44 minutes because it has been popular for over a decade. And why should it not?
It's part assorted history lessons and part betting show. That being said, audiences have wondered whether the events depicted in the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop are staged for dramatic effect or simply factual.
These speculations have risen in recent years due to the show's prolific output of new episodes and special features. Here's what we have been able to dig up.
Is Pawn Stars Real?
Pawn Stars' setting is in the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, founded by Richard "Old Man" Harrison in 1989.
Pawn Stars' Rick Harrison posing for a picture. (Source: Instagram)
And while the Pawn Stars wants us to believe that this small band of close-knit guys runs the whole show, it is quite far from the truth.
To start, Rick spends half the year off the grid and lets the rest of the crew ride it all through. And that small band of close-knit guys?
It's actually an entire army of seven hundred employees who run the store on a day-to-day basis. Mainstay faces like Rick and Russell only appear when the cameras roll.
In all fairness, though, the show's cast did not set out to be celebrities. But now that they are, they have to follow a set of particular rules.
For instance, they can't just choose something that looks fascinating. They have to actively vet the sellers and go through a pre-negotiation procedure before including something or someone on the Pawn Stars.
Then, they also have to stick to a script. With what we have presented so far, it is seemingly easy to put the show in many reality shows that are so devoid of their namesake.
However, it turns out that it's only partial. The other side of this is that the participants who actually bring in their treasure are 100% real and get paid in very real cash.
Pawning the Truth Away?
Speaking with The Sun, Mike Hoover had said that the filming crew asked him to be an extra in the show while he was doing tourist stuff in LV.
He said that the scene was for a deal, which lasted a whole hour but only aired for five minutes. So a lot of scripted takes were involved.
He added that although the cameras rolled and rerolled, a museum expert they had come in to validate the goods seemed to be quite legitimate.
Hoover further provided that customers were not allowed to come in, and only a dozen were allowed in the store during that time of filming.
Travis Benton, the shop manager, also told the publication that the Pawn Stars is segmented. When a pawnbroker spots something interesting come in, they show it to the producers, who give the go-ahead.
Rick Harrison's son, Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison, posing for a picture. (Source: Instagram)
Scheduling is the next course of action in which the sellers are asked to come in accordingly. In the meantime, they are groomed to be in front of the camera.
Benton also said many sellers feel nervous being shot by the camera, even though they have something cool to sell.
And there have been instances where the show had to cut out a segment entirely as the sellers could not pull their composure up.
The producers also closely examine the sellers to ensure that the item is sold from a genuine mindset. Else, the sellers want to be in the limelight.
The Reality of the Shop
To clarify, Benton is the shop's manager, and the shop itself exists in Las Vegas. That being said, he has also said that while the show has done them a lot of good, there are some downsides to the clout.
He shared with the LV Review Journal that the Pawn Stars has actually made their sales suffer. This is because when the cameras roll in, they have to kick out every potential customer and replace them with extras.
Benton also claimed that the show films two to five times a day every weekday. In light of the extensive travel schedules and off-site filming of the main faces, working around the shop's busiest hours is practically impossible.
The night before filming is only when he said he gets the call sheet, which lists the times and locations of where and when filming would take place.
When workplaces or retail locations are closed for filming, there's not much for the shops' staff to do but clean, organize, and interact with the show's extras.
And while all this sounds a bit too bothersome, Benton stated that they all want the same thing—to succeed.
So, the whole show may be fake, but the drive behind it all is very real.