|Running time||21–22 minutes|
|Opening theme||"Money Owns This Town"|
|Country of origin||USA|
|Original run||December 1, 2010 – present|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||102 (and counting from Season 4)|
|List of episodes||List of Episodes|
|Official website||Storage Wars at AETV.com|
Storage Wars is an American reality television series on the A&E Network that premiered in 2010. The show features the couple of Dan Dotson and Laura Dotson as auctioneers, as well as buyers Barry Weiss, the usually together but occasionally separated team of Darrell and Brandon Sheets, the team of Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante, and Dave Hester. Executive producer and creator Thom Beers serves as off-screen narrator. When rent is not paid on a storage locker for three months in California, the contents can be sold by an auctioneer as a single lot of items. The show follows professional buyers who purchase the contents based only on a five-minute inspection of what they can see from the door when it is closed. The goal is to turn a profit on the merchandise.
Storage Wars can be seen internationally as well, as AETN International has sold the series to several channels in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, Poland and Denmark.
Season one of Storage Wars consisted of 19 episodes, 17 of which were filmed at various self-storage facilities throughout Southern California, including Mini-U Storage, Storage Outlet and Extra Storage. Two special episodes were filmed on location at a pair of StorageOne facilities in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show has enjoyed ratings success, and its second season premiere attracted 5.1 million total viewers, making it the most-watched program in A&E's history to that point.
Storage Wars was recommissioned for another 26-episode season in January 2012, with the season officially premiering on June 5, 2012. Only 20 of the 26 episodes were aired however, with six of the episodes being held back for broadcast during the second half of the show's 3rd season which began airing on December 4, 2012. In March 2013, four early, special season 4 episodes aired prior to the official launch of Season 4, which is set to premiere on April 16, 2013.
A spin-off of Storage Wars titled Storage Wars: Texas made its debut on A&E on December 6, 2011. The series features a new cast of bidders and an auctioneer. A second spinoff called Storage Wars: New York was originally scheduled to debut on December 11, 2012. but has since been pushed out to January 1, 2013. In April 2013, It was announced that a spinoff called Storage Wars: Canada, was to start filming in May 2013. This series is scheduled to air on OLN, which currently airs Storage Wars and Storage Wars: Texas in Canada.
Darrell Sheets - "The Gambler" (Season 1-present): Sheets, a storage auction veteran from San Diego, appears alongside his son, Brandon. His catchphrase is "This is the WOW factor!" and he makes the occasional malapropism. He makes his living by selling items from his purchased lockers at swap meets. In the beginning of the series, he lived with his wife, son and young granddaughter, Zoe. He has divorced, and moved (with Brandon) to North Hollywood, where he works out of his new warehouse. In an interview, Sheets indicated that some of his biggest finds in lockers included a sizable comic book collection, four drawings by Pablo Picasso, and a letter written by Abraham Lincoln that sold for over $15,000. In Unlocked: Sell High, Darrell revealed that he once found a plastic-wrapped human corpse in a storage locker. It was determined that the previous owner of the locker had murdered his wife and left her in the unit.
Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante - "The Young Guns" (Season 1-present): Schulz and Passante own and operate the Now and Then thrift store in Orange, California. They opened the shop after Jarrod's business of buying storage units and selling the contents at swap meets overran their home. Jarrod is also is a co-owner of a clothing line, Outlaw Apparel, which he prominently wears on the show. They began the series as relative newcomers in storage unit buying and mostly stayed within low spending caps. As the series has progressed, they have been able to be players on higher end units.
Dave Hester - "The Mogul" (Season 1-3,5-): At the start of the series, he owned Newport Consignment Gallery in Costa Mesa, California and the Rags to Riches thrift store, but closed them in June 2011. He now operates his own auction house, Dave Hester Auctions. Hester has had confrontations with the other main buyers, especially Darrell and Brandon Sheets, and is known to raise bids whenever somebody wants to buy the unit. Hester's son Dave Jr. occasionally appeared on the show with him. Hester's signature catchword is a loud "YUUUP!" when making a bid. He has this word imprinted on his trucks, t-shirts, and hats. In December 2012, Hester was fired from the show, and sued the show's producers for wrongful termination; part of his lawsuit was tossed out in March 2013 (see "Lawsuit" section below). In July 2014, Dave Hester and A&E reached a settlement for their disputes, and is scheduled to return for the August 12th episode.
Ivy Calvin (Recurring Seasons 3-4, Regular Season 5-): Calvin owns a secondhand thrift store that is 5,000 square feet in Palmdale, California. He first made an appearance in the episode "The Big Boy vs. The Heavyweights". He also turned up to the vault auctions in the finale episodes of series three and was introduced as a new attendee. Although he has been in operation less than 18 months, Calvin was able to spend a substantial amount of money. Ivy Calvin is an African-American originally from Mississippi. He has also been seen in the episodes "The Big Boy vs. The Heavyweights", Nobody's Vault But Mine", "Still Nobody's Vault But Mine", "All's Well That Urns Well", "The Monster Hash", "Old Tricks, New Treats", "The French Job", "That's My Jerry", "The Storage Buyer In You". Ivy became a regular in Season 5, following the departure of Barry Weiss
Rene Nezhoda and Casey Lloyd (Recurring Season 4, Regular Season 5-): Rene and Casey have a 7,000 square foot store called "Bargain Hunters" located in San Diego,California. These individuals made their first appearance in the episode "Orange You Glad Dan Sold It Again?". They have also been seen in other Season 4 episodes in the episodes"Barry's Angels", "There's No Place Like Homeland", "Total Wine Domination". Rene and Casey joined the regular cast in the fifth season following the departure of Barry and Dave.
The Harris Brothers (Mark and Matt) (Guest Season 3, Recurring Season 3-4, Regular Season 6-): The Harris Brothers, who are identical twins, first appeared in "May the Vaults be with You" as an appraiser for Barry when he went to get a Star Wars Revenge of The Jedi jacket appraised. They later became bidders in season 4 following Hester's departure. The self-proclaimed "Kings of Swag," the Harris brothers specialize in Hollywood memorabilia. They have a company called WOW! Creations, which specializes in celebrity gift bags. They have appeared one episode in Season 3, "The Kook, The Chief, His Son, and The Brothers", and five times in Season 4 in the episodes "Oysters on the Half Plate", "The Shrining", "The French Job", "There's No Place Like Homeland", and "Total Wine Domination". The Harris Brothers announced that they will be joining the show as regulars for an upcoming season six.
Past main buyersEdit
Barry Weiss - "The Collector" (Seasons 1-4): Weiss and his brother owned a successful produce company, until he retired. While Weiss is a lifelong antiques collector, he had never bought a storage unit until his friend and Storage Wars executive producer and narrator Thom Beers suggested he join the show. Barry is the best financed of the group and by his own admission is the only one not in it for financial profit. He is interested in finding collectibles. He is known for the unusual tactics he brings to the auctions, such as bringing in psychics to help him figure out a locker's contents, odd disguises and outfits he sometimes wears, attaching a camera to a remote control helicopter to look inside a locker, and most recently bringing in a pair of fake German attorneys to distract the other buyers. Barry left the show after the fourth season to star on his new spin-off series Barry'd Treasure
Other featured buyersEdit
Bill Archer (Season 1): Archer had recently left his previous job to become a storage-unit buyer at the time of his first appearance. Archer only appeared full-time in one episode in the first season, which was the episode "The Young and the Reckless". He has been seen in the background since his initial appearance.
Mark Balelo (Season 2-Season 4): Balelo owned a liquidation, wholesale, and distribution company, and an auction house, and also used to own a gaming store called The Game Exchange from 2009-2012. He was known for bringing large sums of money to auctions, as much as $50,000 at a time, and overpricing Barry to $1,500 and Dave to almost $10,000. He also earned the name “Rico Suave” for his tendency to dress in fancy clothes at storage auctions. He appeared three times during the second season, five times in the third season and three times in the fourth season, filmed shortly before his death.
Nabila Haniss (Season 2-present): Haniss received attention for purchasing a storage unit that contained items belonging to socialite Paris Hilton. She appeared five times in the second season, once in the third season, and once in the fourth season.
Jeff Jarred (Season 3-present): Jarred is the owner of the It's New To You antique and thrift store, that he runs with his daughter in Burbank, California. In the past, he has often fought with Dan Dotson, after accusing him of using sneaky tactics at auctions in order to allow regular bidders to win units. However, he and Dotson decided to make peace in the third season. He appeared six times during the third season, and will appear in the second episode of the fourth season.
Mark Compers (Season 3): Compers is a self-employed antiques and collectibles dealer who appeared in one episode in the third season. Although he failed to secure a unit, he showed willing and turned up to the auction with a substantial amount of cash.
Herb Brown and Mike Karlinger (Season 3-present) Herb and Mike are brothers-in-law. They have also appeared in the episodes of season 3 "Potrait of the Gambler", "Nobody's Vault but Mine", "Still Nobody's Vault but Mine" in Season 4, "Old Tricks, New Treats", "Orange You Glad Dan Sold It Again?", "That's My Jerry!" Brown and Karlinger pranked Dave Hester through tank top twins in episode "Jurassic Bark", which is were they made their fist appearance on the show.
Other cast membersEdit
Dan and Laura Dotson (Season 1-present): The husband and wife auctioneer team run American Auctioneers, and administer the storage auctions. Dan has been a professional auctioneer since 1974. Dan is the primary auctioneer, occasionally giving the reins to Laura's solo. Laura always said "...Don't Forget To Pay The Lady!" and she holds a clipboard and pen.
Earl and Johan Graham (Season 4-present) Earl is the father of Johan. Storage auctions are new to this father and daughter team of auctioneers. Earl and Johan have appeared in 5 episodes in Season 4, they are "The Monster Hash" and "The Shrining", "Barry's Angels", "That's My Jerry!", "Total Wine Domination". Johan selled it the auctioneer.
Thom Beers: The executive producer and narrator of the show, Beers provides a quick explanation of the show's premise at the beginning, and does a recap of the featured buyers' profits or losses at the end of each episode. He has stated that the series avoids delving into back stories of the lockers' original owners because, "All you see is misery there, and I didn't want to trade on that."
Critical response was mixed, with Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times calling Storage Wars "a strangely uplifting show — hope being one of the many things one can apparently find in an abandoned storage unit," and Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times called the series "an especially entertaining addition to the genre." Brian Lowry of Variety said that "'Wars' should have been left in storage, indefinitely." Writing for Slate, Troy Patterson gave a mixed review, referring to the series as "trash TV" as well as "trivial and magnetic." Ellen Gray of the Philadelphia Daily News suggested "if there's an acquisitive bone in your body, you should probably steer clear."
The first season premiere episode drew 2.1 million viewers and the show was A&E's top-rated non-fiction show for 2010, with an average of 2.4 million viewers. The season two premiere consisted of back-to-back new episodes of the show; the second show drew 5.1 million total viewers and was the highest rating for an episode of a series in A&E history. The combined season premiere outperformed competing original episodes of NBC Love in the Wild and ABC's Primetime Nightline.
Concerns about authenticityEdit
While some have speculated that some of the units have been stocked by producers, an A&E publicist said, "There is no staging involved. The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show." Executive producer Thom Beers has stated that the vast majority of the storage lockers investigated during production contain nothing of interest and therefore do not appear in the final show.
In December 2012, Dave Hester filed a lawsuit against A&E and Original Productions, claiming that the producers staged entire units, planted items in lockers after having them appraised weeks in advance, and funneled cash to weaker teams to buy lockers they could not have otherwise afforded. The suit claims that Hester and other cast members met with network officials to express concerns that those actions were in violation of federal law intended to prevent viewers from being deceived when watching a show involving intellectual skills.
In January 2013, A&E responded by stating that its composition of the show is covered by the First Amendment, and that Hester's claims do not apply; the network also said the Communications Act of 1934 is inapplicable to cable television, which did not exist in 1934, and that the format of Storage Wars involves no “chance”, “intellectual knowledge” or “intellectual skill” and so is not a game show. A&E also stated that there are “notable inconsistencies in [Hester's] exaggerated self-portrait," referring to his claims of value on the items he finds in lockers.
In March 2013 A&E won a partial victory in the suit when a federal judge tossed out Hester's claim of unfair business practices, calling the show "expressive free speech," and stated that his claim of wrongful termination was not specific enough.
On June 21st 2013, Judge James V. Selna of U.S. District Court in central California ruled in Brandi Passante's favor over a porn video on the Internet that she insisted was fake.
Every episode opens with the narrator, Thom Beers, setting the basic premise for the series: "When storage units are abandoned, the treasures within are put up for auction." In Episodes 2, 3, 4 and 7 of season one, an extra line was added to the opening narration: "because in this high-stakes game, it's get rich or die buyin'." The narration is followed by the preview of the upcoming episode, followed by the opening titles. In the opening titles, the sequence of titles begins at Dave, then Darrell, then Brandi and Jarrod, then Barry, and finally at Dan and Laura. While Laura always appeared in the opening titles, her highlighted face and name were not added to the credits until episode 11 of Season 1. Dave Hester Jr. and Brandon Sheets also appear in the opening titles, but are not highlighted and credited. The show's theme song, "Money Owns This Town", which was written and recorded specifically for the show, plays during the opening. As of Season Four Dave Hester has been removed from the opening credits.