7 Things You Didn’t Know About Storage Wars
Storage Wars has been on air for 10 seasons and counting and is showing no signs of slowing down. Since the show first aired in 2010, it has become the most watched program in A&E’s history and its even launched a couple of spin-offs. Storage Wars has generated a lot of drama for its day, so check out these 7 things you didn’t know about the popular show:
7. A&E Admits to Staging Elements of the Show
During a panel discussion about reality TV, Storage Wars producer Thom Beers admitted to occasionally moving items from one to locker to another. “Now what I will tell you this: We have 20, 30 auctions, and so occasionally maybe one piece shows for one auction container, storage locker to another, you know, but that’s as far as we’ll go. That’s, I think, important,” he said. He also admitted to writing cast members’ lines. “I have to admit: There’s some writing involved. We do it in Storage Wars, we do it in America’s Lost Treasures,” he said. He claims that cast members are fed about half their lines, but producers also “allow them to translate what we need to push the story.”
6. Dave Hester’s Lawsuit
Dave Hester filed a lawsuit against the show in 2012, alleging that the show was rigged. According to him, producers for the show would stock lockers before they were to be auctioned off to buyers and told participants which lockers to bid on. They also told participants how much to bid and occasionally financed the bids of weaker cast members. When he complained to producers, he was fired, so he filed a lawsuit, claiming that he couldn’t be fired for objecting to activity that could potentially be illegal under the Communications Act of 1934, which prevents broadcasters from rigging a contest involving intellectual skills to deceive the viewing public, and alleged he was owed money because he was set to earn $25,000 per episode for a guaranteed minimum of 26 episodes. He lost the lawsuit and was forced to pay the network’s legal fees; however, he was able to proceed with the wrongful termination lawsuit, which he settled for an undisclosed amount.
When Dave Hester filed a lawsuit against A&E, some of the cast members’ salaries were revealed. After signing his contract to appear on the show’s third season, Hester received $25,000 per episode and was guaranteed to appear in 26 episodes. He also was given $2,500 per month for travel, as well as a $124,500 expense account and a $25,000 signing bonus. His total salary with Storage Wars came out to $829,500. Darrell Sheets was making $30,000, but reportedly had his pay slashed to $15,000 in March 2015 and the number of episodes he appeared in was reduced from 26 to just four.
4. Finding Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante
Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante met the producers for Storage Wars at an auction in Harbor City, California, while the show was still in the planning stages. Eight months later, producers contacted him about shooting Schulz at his second-hand store Now and Then, and when they came in and saw Passante they asked if she would mind being on TV. That’s how their reality TV careers were born.
3. The Dotsons
Dan Dotson met his wife Laura back in 1996 at one of his auctions. According to Laura, it was love at first sight. “I found the right man because I am very high-energy. When I saw him auctioneering all over the place, I thought, ‘I’m going to marry that man!’ That was it! We just looked at each other, said ‘Let’s get married, I’ll snatch you up,’ and the rest is history. Four months later, I was pregnant – the whole doggone thing! We work well together. He’s taught me how to auction and it’s the best thing that’s ever happened in my life,” she said. They joined the auction business after they were married and have been working together for 20 years.
Storage Wars star Mark Balelo killed himself back in February 2013 by carbon monoxide poisoning in the garage of his auction house in Simi Valley, California. He had been arrested on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine a few days prior and was reportedly distraught as a result and had asked his fiancé to come over because he was afraid he might hurt himself. His fiancé left a few hours later, and then he was found by an employee the following morning.
1. On Set Brawl
Back in 2015, Dan Dotsen and Dave Hester got into a brawl on the set of Storage Wars when Hester informed Dotson that he had missed a bid placed by their fellow cast member Mary. Dotson reportedly screamed at Hester, “F—k you, David! I’m going to kill you!” Hester then punched Dotson in the face and then Dotsen punched him in the eye. Dotson’s wife Laura got involved and jumped on Hester’s back only to be tossed through the air. Security guards broke up the fight and production was halted.