We tend to learn by watching others. That’s why television is such a powerful tool. And while some networks are famous for teaching us what not to do (hi, Snooki!), PBS has a history of giving us all sorts of knowledge we didn’t even know we needed. (Did you know that 18th-century furniture-making German immigrants in Pennsylvania had a penchant for painting tulips on their white pine pieces?) We’ll learn even more when “Market Warriors” premieres Monday, July 16 (check local listings).
Though its DNA is decidedly “Antiques Roadshow” — not surprising, since it comes from the same producers — “Market Warriors” pits four expert pickers against one another in a friendly challenge to get the best deal. They’ll scour flea markets across the country looking for vintage goodies in predetermined categories (costume jewelry, floor lamps, etc.), each with the same amount of cash. At the end they sell their treasures at auction to see who got the biggest bang for their buck. And, as is so often the case, we’ll learn all along the way.
“We have a goal of learning about everything we are buying,” executive producer Marsha Bemko tells Zap2it. “This is still a young field of study, and knowledgeable people will buy or sell things multiple times and even make mistakes along the way. We will even see their mistakes. We’re learning the entire time.”
And while the four pickers — Kevin Bruneau, John Bruno, Miller Gaffney and Bob Richter — might be new to viewers, a familiar voice, Fred Willard (“Best in Show,” “Modern Family”), is the off-screen host, offering wry commentary throughout. “We are all Fred fans,” says Bemko.
So at the end of the day what’s in it for the pickers? A big prize? Cash money?
“We are still public television, so we aren’t going to give out any of our money,” says Bemko, laughing. “But there is a lot at stake for these guys. Reputation can be worth seven figures to these guys.”