EXCLUSIVE: A+E Networks UK is remaking hit U.S. show American Pickers for its free-to-air channel Blaze — and is basing the series in Ireland with a brand new cast of treasure hunters.
Irish Pickers will launch in March this year, with Curve Media producing a 10-part first season after A+E Networks licensed the British production company, which also makes Discovery’s Salvage Hunters, to adapt the U.S. version.
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It marks a neat piece of symmetry, given Curve Media’s joint-CEO Rob Carey co-created the original American Pickers show for History in the U.S. through his old company Cineflix Productions. It has run for 21 seasons since launching a decade ago.
Dan Korn, vice president of programming at A+E Networks UK, told Deadline that Carey originally approached him with a talent pitch rather than plans to remake American Pickers, but the idea snowballed into Irish Pickers.
The show centers on historical dealer Ian Dowling, who Carey said has a “rock star” quality about him, and a team of pickers including Mark Butterly, Vinny Smith and Ali Foy. Death In Paradise and Father Ted star Ardal O’Hanlon provides the voiceover for the show.
They travel around Ireland and the UK, including Belfast and Manchester, discovering, buying and selling quirky and unusual objects previously hidden from the world, such as retro games, model cars and military artifacts.
Carey said the combination of the locations and the talent made the content “very strong,” while Korn added that Dubin’s history is “endlessly fascinating,” with the team visiting places like a bar frequented by Oliver Reed.
“Escapist TV is important to people at the moment, and this is a chance to vicariously head out on the open road, meet some extraordinary people and see some extraordinary places,” added Carey.
Blaze launched in the UK in September 2016 and Irish Pickers represents its second commission following car revival show Flipping Bangers. The channel is mainly populated with U.S. imports, but Korn said it is the right time to “bring it closer to home” with shows made for a local audience.
Carey is the executive producer of Irish Pickers alongside Diana Carter, commissioning editor at A+E Networks UK. The show will be distributed by A&E International.