What's Going On With Frank From American Pickers?

"American Pickers" follows Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe as they go around the country looking for antique pieces to sell or collect. The show has been airing since 2010 and premiered Season 22 on January 25. However, fans noticed that Fritz was not in the new episodes. According to Reality Titbit, instead of Fritz co-picking with Wolfe this season, Wolfe was accompanied by his friend Jersey Jon. 

This is not the first time that Frank Fritz took a break from the show. Back in Seasons 8 and 9, he had to take a break for health reasons. At that time, fans noticed Fritz's concerning weight loss. It was then when he revealed to the public that he has been living with Crohn's disease, a chronic illness that affects the digestive tract.

Through the years, Frank has learned how to cope with Crohn's through proper nutrition, which helps him somewhat manage the condition (via Quad-City Times). There hasn't been an official announcement regarding Frank's absence from "American Pickers," but Wolfe mentioned his partner's absence from the show, saying that he had back surgery, but he did not provide further details (via Distractify).

Frank Fritz wants people to know about life with Crohn's disease

Still, Frank Fritz has lived with Crohn's disease for decades. His work on the show requires plenty of traveling, and that can be difficult for someone with Crohn's, as the disease can cause internal pain, ulcers in the gut, diarrhea, fatigue, anemia, and more.

According to Medical News Today, there is no known cure for Crohn's disease, but there are treatments, and it can be managed with proper diet. People with Crohn's disease can go for months or years with no symptoms, but resurgences of the symptoms are unpredictable and can strike anytime.

Fortunately, the "American Pickers" producers bring an RV to the filming locations so that Frank Fritz has access to a restroom if he has a Crohn's flare up, the Quad-City Times reported. While Crohn's makes life more difficult — especially in public settings — Fritz told the Quad-City Times he wants the public to know more about the disease and that you can still persevere even if you have to live with the condition. 

"I'm trying to show people that regardless of the adversities ... and the social situations, the awkwardness, accidents, that you can live a productive life," he said.

Where is Frank Fritz Now?

Another possibility for Frank Fritz's absence from the show could be cautiousness during the coronavirus pandemic. Since Fritz has Crohn's, he may be more susceptible to COVID-19. As an "American Pickers" press release noted, they are taking all the precautions needed to ensure everyone's safety while filming, as reported by Neosho Daily News.

In the March 2021 press release it said "American Pickers" would be filming some episodes in Missouri but were ready to make any scheduling changes if COVID-19 numbers increased or if new concerns arose as they continued "with their mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics." 

During the pandemic, Frank has reportedly been staying in LeClaire, Iowa, taking care of business at the Antique Archaeology store, per Distractify. It's one of two shops where Fritz and picking partner Mike Wolfe sell their unique finds they acquire for the show. Their second store is located in Nashville.

Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe have known each other since childhood

Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz have known each other since seventh grade, according to the Antique Archeology website. Wolfe had the idea for the show and worked to get it off the ground for five years. He brought in Fritz because he realized "two pickers talking, laughing, and arguing on the road are more interesting than one guy alone in a van."

Fritz's pedigree for spotting collectible or unique antiques pulled from rafters, basements, and outbuildings comes from his interest since childhood when, according to History, he collected beer cans and rocks. His passion for antiques and cool old stuff never waned as he worked as a fire and safety inspector before being invited to travel around the country with Wolfe as a professional picker.

Fritz seemed to have found his calling with "American Pickers," earning the nickname from Wolfe, "The Bearded Charmer," for his likability and way with people that lends itself to getting good deals and stories out of potential sellers.

Hopefully Frank Fritz will be back scouring locations for precious antiques when he has completely recovered from surgery and when the pandemic dies down.

"It's a tough hand I've got dealt to me in my life, but you can still do stuff out there," Fritz told the Quad-City Times. "It's about planning and nutrition and making provisions to yourself for your health and safety."