What is 'Storage Wars'?:
Storage Wars is a half-hour reality show on TLC. It premiered on December 1, 2010 and focuses on a group of people who buy the contents of unpaid storage units.
Unlike Tru TV's similar Storage Hunter, on Storage Wars bidders don't travel the country but limit their storage bidding to Southern California. Auction Hunter, also set in Southern California is a similar show on Spike TV but it focuses exclusively on two buyers, whereas Storage Wars follows competing bidders.
What is 'Storage Wars' About?:
When the rent on a storage unit hasn't been paid for three months, California law allows the company to sell the contents, which it typically does in an auction, where bidders only have a few minutes to examine the unit's contents (usually without stepping into it).
TLC's Storage Wars follows several buyers who bid against each other in hopes of turning abandoned property into cold hard cash. While the show films dozens of auctions, it only airs those where something interesting is found inside.
Who Are the Stars of 'Storage Wars'?:
Storage Wars features husband and wife auctioneers Dan and Laura Dotson, as well a number of regular buyers:
- Darrell and Brandon Sheets: Darrell is a 30-year veteran of storage auctions and makes a living reselling items at local swap meets. He often works with his son Brandon.
- Barry Weiss is a collector and friend of Storage Wars executive producer Thom Beers. He started attending storage auctions at Beers' suggestion. Financially secure, Weiss isn't involved in the auctions for monetary gain. Instead, he looks for antiques to add to his collection and he sells or donates everything else. Weiss is known for auction antics like bringing in a psychic or attaching a camera to a remote control helicopter to see more of the storage unit's contents.
- Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante opened a thrift store after items from Schulz's storage unit purchases overran their home. Passante later began attending auctions to further rein in Schulz's spending.
- Dave Hester: the show's "villain," Hester was fired just before Season Four began filming (see below). On Storage Wars he was portrayed as liking to drive up the price of units, or waiting until the last minute to swoop in with a winning bid and his trade mark call, "YUUUP!" Hester owns his own auction house.
What Makes 'Storage Wars' Controversial?:
Some critics have suggested that Storage Wars' producers seed the units with intriguing or valuable items. Former cast member Dave Hester reiterated that argument in a lawsuit he filed accusing Storage Wars of fraud and wrongful termination. Hester claims the producers add items to storage units and manipulate the bidding process.
In response A&E has previously responded, "There is no staging involved. The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show."
Others have called Storage Wars and other shows like it "predatory TV" for preying on the misfortune of those who can't continue paying their storage fees.
Executive producer Thom Beers seemed to validate this concern when he explained that the series avoided exploring the history of the units and meeting the previous owners because, "All you see is misery there, and I didn't want to trade on that."
Who Narrates 'Storage Wars'?:
Thom Beers, who created and executive produces Storage Wars also serves as off-screen narrator. In addition to his roles on Storage Wars, Beers produces a range of other reality shows for the Discovery family of channels, including Deadliest Catch, Lobster Wars, Monster Garage and Monster House.
Who Produces 'Storage Wars'?:
Storage Wars is produced by Original Productions and Dolph Scott. Executive producers include creator Thom Beers, Philip D. Segal, Robert Sharenow and Elaine Frontain Bryant.
When Does 'Storage Wars' Air?:
Storage Wars airs on A&E Tuesdays 9/8PM Central and generally has two seasons per calendar year. One starts in December, the other in June or July.
'Storage Wars' Spin-offs:
Storage Wars has led to two regional spin-offs: Storage Wars: Texas (which debuted December 6, 2011) and Storage Wars: New York (which premiered on January 1, 2013). Both of these series feature a new cast of bidders and different auctioneers than the original.