The appraisers of “Antiques Roadshow” were asked Tuesday to appraise some of the shows that have borrowed from their format. Ever seen them gently break the news that grandma’s wedding ring is worthless? It was kind of like that.
Series executive producer Marsha Bemko and appraisers Laura Woolley and Wes Cowan were asked at the Television Critics Association winter press tour Tuesday what they thought of shows like “Storage Wars” and “Pawn Stars,” in which people present forgotten items that they hope will pay off their mortgages.
Bemko started things off politely, noting that her show is the “grandaddy of the genre.”
“The nice thing about all those other shows, it’s generated even more interest in antiques and old stuff. And I think people like different types of shows, so you can watch ‘Pawn Stars.’ He’s buying and selling and that has an impact on the type of information you’re hearing. But I think those shows are good for ‘Antiques Roadshow.'”
With that, she subtly noted one of the differences between PBS’s beloved “Roadshow” and its cable TV knockoffs: the “Roadshow” appraisers don’t have skin in the game. The appraisers on other shows are often trying to talk up or talk down an item’s value to buy or sell it for a better price.
Appraiser Woolley (pictured) initially offered praise for those other shows — “I watch many of them. I find them very entertaining,” she said.
Then she drove in the 1929 pearl-handled knife: “But I do think, ‘It’s an entertainment show.'”
Cowan, her fellow appraiser, was blunter. He slipped in the subtle insult of not even knowing the name of the show pretending to take his antique throne:
“I think it’s also important to remember that those shows are totally staged,” he said. “‘Antiques Roadshow’ is not. It’s completely legit. So is it really reasonable to think that someone on ‘Storage Locker Wars’ is going to find a $100,000 item that somebody left in a storage locker?”
Put that in your aunt’s vintage porcelain pipe and smoke it, “Storage Locker Wars.”
The slew of appraisal shows apparently hasn’t made us any better at honestly assessing what granddaddy’s old junk is worth.
“People always coming to ‘Roadshow’ will hope for the best,” Bemko said. “The devil’s in the details. The one that you saw just like it that was worth $100,000 isn’t just like it.”