The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 5, 2013

First pick: Danielle Colby chosen for 'American Pickers' because of her look, expertise

JOPLIN, Mo. — Danielle Colby doesn't remember the object that she and Mike Wolfe argued over about 10 years ago.

Maybe it was a chair or a lamp or who knows. What really stuck out about the meeting was the lesson she learned and the friend she made.

"I met him at a yard sale, and we were interested in the same thing," Colby said. "I wasn't sure whether I was going to buy it or not, so I set it down. He yanked it up. I told him that I was still looking, but he said, 'Looking isn't buying.'"

From there, the two agreed that each one was kind of an ass. Of course, they struck up a great friendship.

So great that when Wolfe pitched the idea of "American Pickers" as a reality TV show, he wanted Colby to work in the office of his antique store.

In its fourth season, "American Pickers" is one of the featured shows on the History Channel's lineup. It debuted in 2010 with 3.1 million viewers, breaking the channel's record for highest-rated debut since "Ice Road Truckers" in 2007.

The show has taken off like crazy since then, propelling Wolfe, Colby and Frank Fritz to a high level of fame and success. Wolfe and Fritz go on the hunt and visit people, trading cash for what they call "rusty gold," while Colby holds down the fort and hunts down potential sellers the two can investigate.

The show is filled with antiques, trivia, nostalgia and playful ribbing between the three main characters -- without the freak-show, train-wreck aspects of other reality TV shows. The show's success, and Colby's small role in it, has altered her life, she said.

"It's still shocking on a daily basis," Colby said. "It's a lot like having children, because you get the best and worst at once. This is like a supernova of awesome s***storm. I just hold on really tight and take it moment by moment instead of day by day."

Colby will appear today in Miami as part of the Retro Signs Antique Advertising Show and Sale at Buffalo Run Casino. She will speak and meet fans of the show.

Colby does anywhere from one to four of these meet-and-greets a month across the country, and she views them as critical to understanding the show's audience.

"Some in the industry have told me that I have a brand and that I shouldn't soil it by doing stuff like this," Colby said. "To me, this is the best way to keep in touch with the people who actually pay my bills and watch the show."

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