Storage Wars stars make $10k an episode, so why are they acting like they’re broke?

I don’t know how much interest there will be in this story, but I’m willing to take a chance as I’ve been watching so much “Storage Wars” on A&E lately. It’s not that I particularly love the show, I enjoy it but it seems repetitive and I often question whether they plant items. My kid just loves “Storage Wars” though and apart from some minor adult humor and swearing that’s beeped out it’s usually appropriate for him and interesting. (I tried to watch “American Pickers” with him but it bugged me how much those antique hunter guys seem to take advantage of old people.)

The National Enquirer scored an exclusive interview with Dave Hester, the “Yuuuup” shouting high-roller storage unit buyer, The “Mogul,” who always seems to be feuding with someone. Sometimes I root for Dave, but he’s too cutthroat lately and seems to be bidding people up and generally being a pain. He probably is playing it up for the cameras. Well The Enquirer revealed just how much all the castmembers are being paid an episode and it doesn’t sound bad at $10k per. The show is wildly popular, though, and A&E must be raking it in. Dave wants a raise in order to come back for the third season. He said that he’s holding out for more money and will basically see if A&E thinks he’s worth it.

“Storage Wars” star Dave Hester says he’s ready to pack it in if he doesn’t get a big raise.

Right now, the fast-talking storage unit treasure hunter on the hit A&E show says his negotiations with the network are “at a standstill and he doesn’t know if or when they’ll start up again. The production is due to start filming the third season in a few weeks.

Although he won’t say what he makes and what he wants, sources said that Hester and his cast mates earn about $10,000 per episode, and he told The Enquirer: “I want as much as I can get out of them so that I can support my family and my employees. It matters what my market value is, what I bring to the show.

“A&E owns the circus and we’re the elephants out here working for peanuts! A&E is making a mountain of money on our backs now and they need to share more of it with the talent!…”

In its first season in 2010, “Storage Wars” was A&E’s top-rated nonfiction show of the year, drawing an average of 2.8 million viewers per week.

Since then, its popularity has increased tremendously. The two-part premiere of season 2 drew a whopping 5.1 million total viewers, making it the most-watched show in A&E history…

Dave, who’s been in business for 25 years, is holding out, and with no modesty, said: “If A&E doesn’t appreciate my skill level and talent – and what I brought to the show – I would hope they say, ‘Thanks, Dave, and here’s an unconditional release.’”

[From The National Enquirer, print edition, January 30, 2012]

Dave can be such an arrogant prick, but I have to admit I like watching him. This is what always gets me about reality shows – they talk a lot about money problems but they never admit to the great cash they’re making for doing the show, and they often act like they’re broke when they’re not. This bothered me on “Teen Mom,” it bothered me on “Sister Wives,” and it bothers me on “Storage Wars.” I think that Dave was probably the most successful buyer going into it, but if Brandi and Jarrod have made over half a million from the show so far it seems disingenuous that they’re acting like they’re broke. 50 episodes have aired so far for season one and two combined, so that’s half a million for each of the principal cast. I guess I don’t blame Dave for wanting more money since he probably considers himself the “star.” It seems like a hell of a lot of money for acting like yourself, but that’s the reality show world we live in now.

This is the real star of “Storage Wars,” Brandi. I can see Brandi and Jarrod getting a spin off focusing on their home life, and then predictably splitting up. All they ever seem to do is argue.

Update: here are some pap photos of Barry Weiss out in Beverly Hills on January 2 with a friend. He smokes! Credit: Josephine Santos,

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111 Responses to “Storage Wars stars make $10k an episode, so why are they acting like they’re broke?”

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  1. Jennifer says:

    Love Storage Wars! They should pay everyone more.

  2. Estrella says:

    Totally agree that they should pay every one more.Heart that show. Died laughing one epi when Dave came in his YUUUUP truck roflmbo.

    Favorite dude on there is Barry though..

  3. Mi says:

    Love this show, Barry is freakin hilarious, he’s my fave. Brandy too pretty and too smart for Jarrod and Hester is a complete pompous ahole.

  4. LindyLou says:

    I’m a regular watcher too. I don’t think everything they show is genuine (ie: planted “treasure”) and I bet they don’t show all of the lockers that have nothing valuable in them. As far as Hester is concerned, he is a prick and a pain in the ass, but he is a smart businessman. I’m not sure how well the show would do without him. He adds a lot of drama.

  5. me says:

    I’ve heard that it’s totally staged.That A&E buys the lockers from the storage companys and fills them. I can’t believe they make 10 k per show.That’s insane!!

  6. Mrs. Darcy says:

    Ugh got sucked into watching it when visiting the States, it’s hypnotically bad or something. I really did not buy that they actually made the cash money they claimed the crap was worth though, it was like they guesstimated it and the show proclaimed that was what they made? Is Barry the suave old dude witht he wacky dress sense? Love him!

  7. Celebitchy says:

    Yes I think Barry is funny but he can sometimes be a total ass. He actually got papped a couple of weeks ago! I’ll add a couple of those pics because they’re funny as hell.

  8. mia girl says:

    “my kid just loves “Storage Wars” though and apart from some minor adult humor and swearing that’s beeped out it’s usually appropriate for him and interesting.”

    @CB Yes! My son is also obsessed with this show. We all watch it together as a family (and believe me it’s hard to find a show that with interest parents, a 14 yr old, 8 yr old and 6 yr old)!

    I say more money for all of them bc A&E is raking it in. Not only is it incredibly successful in the US it is also doing extremely well in Int’l markets. They can afford to pay these folks some more.

  9. Cathy says:

    I’ve watched the show a couple of times and I just can’t seem to get into it. It seems and feels like it’s fake.

  10. sarah says:

    Love this show. My husband LOVES Brandi. (eye roll) Barry’s definately my favorite.

    As for your line about American Pickers, I think you are so wrong. I’ve seen them offer HIGHER than someone wanted because they knew it was worth it and the old person didn’t. I’ve never seen them take advantage of anyone.

  11. Blue says:

    I don’t see why he or any of them deserve any more money. They are doing what they love and what they were doing before, just getting paid way more. Plus they are getting their names out there and more than likely bringing in more business for themselves. These people are lucky to have such an opportunity when so many are struggling. They need to stop being so damn greedy. They probably started living a more extravagant lifestyle and need the money to keep up. Because living within our means seems to be a hard concept for people to grasp. A&E should show him the door. Then he can find another channel willing to pay him more than 10k to be a giant ass.

  12. rosmarina says:

    If you think things are planted on this show, then you must not have watched “Auction Hunters” on Spike. I like “Storage Wars” a lot more. Plus, one of the hosts of “Auction Hunters” is, IMO, one of the tooliest tools ever. My husband and I can’t stop commenting on him when we watch it.

  13. Kelly says:

    I watched it for a while, but it is really repetitive. Also, Dave’s “Yuuuuup!” drives me mental. Also, the article didn’t mention Darryl- his perma-sunburn makes me really nervous.

    Like everyone else, I love Barry – he’s like a Vegas Don Quixote.

    And I think Jarred and Brandi’s marriage is horrible – even if it’s mostly for the cameras, the presence of any sort of contempt in a relationship is sheer poison. Their facial expressions, their body language, tone of voice… does not bode well.

    I don’t think $10,000 is a huge amount per episode – we don’t know how many hours goes into the making of each. And for those who have shops and employees (i.e. Dave and Jarred/Brandi), and trucks, you’re paying for that as well.

  14. Stacia says:

    “Money owns this Town”

    Really like the show. My fave is Barry.

  15. Umlaut says:

    I HATE the way Brandy undermines and criticizes her husband so openly. It’s awful to treat your spouse like that.

  16. dovesgate says:

    I seriously dislike Dave. He bids things up just to be a jerk and ensure he gets lockers at a lower amount. The constant “YUUUP” grates on my nerves which is probably why he does it.

    The absolute worst though was that one guy who thought his old Nintendo was worth $3k and found out the hard way it was really worth $10, My husband and I called it right from the start.

    Barry, Brandi, and Jarrod are our favorites.

  17. Moi says:

    Love the show except for Dave and the hillbilly dude. Barry is awesome!!!

  18. oh dear says:

    barry’s comments make me laugh sometimes but most of the time he just pisses me off because he throws stuff around and i cant help but think that hes destroying “valuable” stuff along the way. i like it when they go through all the stuff because it satisfies my curiosity ;)

  19. katielouisiana says:

    I am pretty sure all of these shows are mostly fake and staged. My niece’s father in law auditioned for Cajun Pawn Stars and got a recurring role on it. None of the items he brings in to the Pawn shop are his and the stories they tell about why they are selling a particular item are completely fabricated.

  20. sara says:

    I’ve seen this show a few times, but I love Auction Hunters wayyy more haha. I just think Auction Hunters is more “real”, if you will.

  21. Happy21 says:

    I love to watch this show! Barry is by far my fave. His one liners are classic. He just seems like a really fun guy. What does bug me though is that he tosses around stuff and breaks it to get to the ‘treasure’. He should be donating the stuff he doesn’t want to non-profit thrift stores and the like.

    I cannot stand Jarrod and Brandi. Mostly Jarrod. He reminds me of Kid Rock but just comes across as being a poseur. He’s a loser. Brandi’s voice bugs me. Its so whiny ALL the time.

    Dave Hester is an a-hole but he’s entertaining. I don’t like how he just runs through everything and the tally goes up and up. I’ve seen pieces of furniture that would sell for $100 in a thrift store and he puts a $500 tag on it. I highly doubt he gets that kind of money for it.

    I think the show is wildly successful and maybe everyone should get a little more but really its their job anyways. They shouldn’t get too greedy. Otherwise, we’ll end up with Kardashian level fame-whoring.

  22. Samantha says:

    Barry is awesome! And I am surprised there’s not more love for Darrell – I love when he talks about his granddaughter that he’s raising. He seems the most genuine of the bunch, if only because he’s such a bad “actor”, you can tell when something is staged with him.

  23. Bbyboo says:

    I love Storage Wars!! So glad to see a story about it. I think Dave’s yup is just a big pain in the ass. Why do the other people just let him get stuck with all those lockers he is bidding up? I feel he always overprices things. See this 1980s dinette set? I can sell that in my “high-end” store for 350 bucks. Really, Dave? Really? I think not. But I love Barry and I am amused by how exasperated Brandi gets when Jarrod does not listen to her. LOL. Plus I love she calls him JM {that was my grandpa’s nickname} But I think she is a little trashy too. Was she really a stripper?

  24. jamminatorr says:

    Barry is my favourite! But I really don’t think they’re faking ‘being poor’ – I started watching in the first season and the max bid would be like $500 – now they’re in the thousands. AND they’ve all showed up with new (expensive) cars and trucks and Dave opened an auction house and Jarrod and Brandi expanded their store – they talk about this on the show. Barry is already rolling in money – I think he used to own some sort of food distribution company?

  25. Lairen says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who can’t watch American Pickers! Sometimes they seem like such wolves to me. They definitely take advantage of people.

    You’re right, Storage Wars is very formulaic but it’s also easy to get sucked in. That’s surprising how much they make – I never would have guessed. Brandi and Jarrod are the most awkward couple, too. One day my husband and I were watching and he said, “They’re kind of like us!” and I was mortified. God I hope he was wrong lol.

  26. Bettie says:

    Barry Weiss is the REAL star of this show!

  27. Cidee says:

    So glad I’m not the only one who LOOOOOVES Barry. He’s the bonafide draw. Get him his own spin-off and it’d be gold.

  28. Pia says:

    Sorry, but I can’t STAND this show. Brandi is cute, but they all annoy me immensely in their own ways. Still interesting to hear about though… I’m not surprised it might be staged. I used to watch American Pickers, but I just got bored with it. I don’t personally think they are taking advantage of anyone, because most of the stuff they buy would continue collecting dust in a barn anyway. There was one item they ended up getting thousands for, and they split the profit with the guy they bought it from.

  29. Charlotte says:

    My grandad and sister got me into storage wars and I’m ashamed to say that I now love it, Barry’s the best, Dave is the most annoying bloke on the planet!

  30. Reece says:

    Dave drives me nuts. He’s such an ass. Barry’s hilarious, but not any good.

  31. Janice says:

    It sadly is staged…me and my boyfriend go to storage auctions and the Storage Wars film crew actually came and filmed the storage auction we were at. They were saying how it was staged, how they put stuff in the storage lockers to make the show more interesting, etc. It was a little ridiculous…

  32. jc126 says:

    I like Barry, who seems funny and nice, but I do think the show is largely staged.
    Also, I wonder why Brandi and jared aren’t married, after so long together and a couple kids. My boyfriend also thinks Brandi used to be a stripper, lol.

  33. samira677 says:

    I really like Storage Wars. The only ones who act like they’re broke are Jarrod and Brandi. But they could be considering they own a thrift store. It takes a lot of money to run a business. I don’t like the Texas version. That one seems staged considering the cast seems more like characters than real people.

  34. Sandy says:

    I think it’s staged. Too many “nice” things and nothing is dusty and dirty. I manage storage units and I wish the ones we sold were half as good as the ones on tv.

  35. Ginger says:

    We also watch this show regularly…even DVR it. My son also watches American Pickers and I’ve watched it with him a couple of times. I don’t find it as entertaining as Storage Wars though. I love all of the people on this show. I think Brandi is so pretty and definitely a good example of a strong woman. I love her for it. My husband says she’s a “bad ass” like me…whatever that means! LOL! I wouldn’t doubt that it is staged…aren’t most reality shows a set up?

  36. Jayna says:

    Five million viewers is huge on cable. They definitely deserve more.

  37. PyrLover says:

    At least Brandi won’t be getting bolt on’s. She’s got em already. Can’t stand Darryl…he’s just an ass. And the TX show is the absolute worst! Yuck. Love the theme music…can’t get it out of my head sometimes.

  38. Zooyork says:

    So happy Barry is getting so much love! He’s my favourite for sure!! By far Barry is the most interesting and has the most personality.

  39. Snowflake says:

    My bf and i watch this show a lot. I think Darryl’s a nice guy and Dave’s just a sharp no nonsense businessman. I like brandy and jared, they seem like a real couple who get on each other’s nerves from time to time. Barry’s my favorite, although he’s a little kooky.

  40. Brittany says:

    I love Barry! He’s hilarious, and the reason why I got in the business. Haha, I love the business its so fun to look for auctions, if anyone is also in it check out it’s a great and easy way to find hundreds of nationwide auctions!

  41. Dan says:

    I gotta agree with the majority here… Barry is also my favorite! Jerrod & Brandi are the underdogs and you need that to give balance to the show! Gotta say that Darrell is also a favorite of mine… kind of the wisdom of the trade! Dave is also a key element here, and without his villanous ways, the show would not be nearly as interesting. I say A&E has a hit on it’s hands and SHOULD pay the talent well… all parties should benefit from the show’s success!

  42. michemoo says:

    i love Dave & Barry
    Dave is their to make money not friends, its not his job to role over and let someone else make the money. Barry is awesome

  43. michemoo says:

    DO IT DAVE!!!!
    Make that money and continue to make jarrod whine.
    Brandy you can do better

  44. Dhjf says:

    On auction hunters they only show the buys where they are really successful. Listen to the intro dumbasses

  45. Catina says:

    I love, love, love Dave. I like how he comes in just when someone thinks they’ve won with his signature yuuuup. Cracks me up every time. And for those who says he runs up the bid…come on he’s not the only one. It’s the cost of doing business and hating on him because he does it better than the rest of them is bogus! I like the whole cast and feel they all bring some thing to the show…I just love Dave the most-yuuuuup!

  46. Janet says:

    Yes, what DOES happen to all the stuff Barry leaves behind? That really bugs me when he does that. I like Barry but there is IMO something kind of pervy about him and how he is always making dirty jokes, in a 9-5 he’d be getting sued for harrassment.

    I just wanted to vomit when I heard Brandi complain about Jarrod’s crappy purchase saying “We’re trying to run a high-end retail store. Come on Brandi, have you seen your gangsta baby-daddy? No one who dresses like that runs a high end retail store.

  47. Thomas says:

    DARREL! He loves his kids, he seems like a real hard working guy, he would have a beer with you and a couple of laughs. You need Dave. He’s a dick, but a ton of people rely on him to make money to feed their families. Berry is the careless rich man out for a laugh and to grab attention. Brandy and Jarred are with each other all the time. They’ll be fine. They all have their good points, but my money rides on Darrel. He is through and through a GREAT man.

  48. mcammo says:

    How did Barry get a medical marijuana state issued card (as interviewed by big cheese radio and posted on youtube) for back problems yet he lifts heavy items on the show.Storage hunters over storage wars any day for me.

  49. monster says:

    ive been to Brandi and jarred store they don’t even work their anymore its all for the show. sure you can buy autographed merchandise but i have yet to see anything they have found on the show in their store so fake heck ya

  50. Raelyn says:

    I love Dave the only reason i would watch the show is dave.. If there are continues shows i watch all of them all day long.
    This show makes me want to bid on storage units.
    I agree though they all should get raises.

  51. Kat says:

    So let me get this straight… Dave thinks he deserves more money for being ‘talent’? I thought this show was supposed to be reality based, and I thought they were filming the very reason these people make money: because they buy storage units and sell the contents. So where does the talent come in to play? Especially on Dave’s part, he IS an arrogant prick, most people can see that he is not acting. Now, if he were getting paid to act, that is a different scenario. These people arent, that I know of, taking much extra time out of their lives to be in this show, because this IS their life! Are they being forced into acting with these personas? If not I think 10k per episode is awesome, just to be filmed doing something you already do (to make money at that)… 40k a month?! Hell ya!
    I also noticed Dave is always flashing his brand and business name on the show, so he is actually getting just as much advertising exposure as their sponsors. Whats the problem? I dont think someone should be under-paid for what they do, but is it fair to get paid 2 or 3 times over? Maybe some people should learn what reality is so they can come back to it ;)

  52. Mark says:

    YES YES to the “plant” question search around I easily found numerous stories of people selling unique items online that were approached by the show to let them put whatever their item was in the lockers being bidded on ahead of time. Point 2, notice how no matter which one of these dopey people wins whichever locker, they basically ALWAYS make a profit, this is mega-miles from reality I did this for many years and got lucky here and there but me and everyone I knew doing it were living like total bums, maybe 15k a year if your lucky and an incredible pain in the a&# trying to unload ANYTHING nowadays online or whereever. I simply ask myself who benefits most from this ridicilious show ? the storage facilities obviously, so many dumb newcomers jumped in the loser game after this show started it became impossible to bid economically anymore so I dropped it in a minute, but still hoards of newcomers every week all excited paying WAY too much, double/triple what the lockers used to go for for the past 50 or so years….

  53. Janet says:

    Dave Hester: NEWSFLASH – There’s nothing unique about you. You can be replaced, because arrogant know-it-alls are a dime a dozen.

  54. m sarell says:

    You guys are missing the point.
    Dave is merely the bad guy of
    this movie.Everyone has a
    role to play, including the
    bickering couple.I don’t watch
    the show for intellectual content.
    For that I watch Jersey Shore.

  55. Bud says:

    Barry is really cool I’ve seen pictures from 1985 when he had long blonde rockstar hair when he was running a wholesale fruit and veggy company with his bro Joey. As for Brandi she can lap dance me anytime….cuz we all know she’s had lots of practice!!! LMAO

  56. david says:

    for the people hating on the american pickers peoples its not like you can buy at full retail they look for items people are willing to let go a few episodes they donated cash to people down on their luck donated items and one time they bought some circus banners and sold them sent back to the circus place and gave the guy half of the money they sold them for because it sold for a lot and the guys place got trashed by hurricane Katrina

  57. Diane Manley says:

    We hate it that the new episodes only air at ten p.m. We go bed around ten. More people our age follow this show than young couples. Very poor planning.

  58. Susie says:

    I cannot stand Brandi and Jarrod. They are both dull and tighter than a ducks arse. They do give the impression that they have no money but I just think they have short arms and deep pockets. Everyone else has a bit of character about them and seem genuine. I just think B&J are too involved in making money (out of crap) whereas the others like to keep some of the interesting – sometimes valuable – items. B&J would buy pensioners cheap if they could make more money on their pensions.

  59. DON BROWNFIELD says:

    dave is not the star I cant stand him I have to turn the sound down when hes on.

  60. Sandy Tingen says:

    Dave sucks… I like everybody on the show but him. I think A&E would be crazy if they decided to offer Dave more money. If anything, I think Barry should get a raise… I absolutely love that guy.

  61. Lucky says:

    I like Barry, he’s funny. I feel sorry for Dave. He’s probably a nice guy, but for the sake of entertainment, they made him into a villian…his son respects him way too much for him to really be a bad guy…

  62. kimberlina says:

    For all the times that Dave bid people up ‘just because’…his kharma is biting him in the ass now…let this be a lesson to all people on the show….GREED DOES NOT PAY….AND YOU ALL ARE REPLACABLE!!!! There are people who do this for a living.

  63. doinmdarndest says:

    storage wars is one of the reality shows that needs it’s “prick”; it’s bad guy. just like american idol. storage wars – dave hester = show gets lower neilsen ratings, sure as american idol – simon cowell gets the same result, w/ niether show being as much fun to watch.

    a better substite prick than jeff should be brought in. it’s do-able. howard stern is a far more optimal choice for ‘america’s got talent’s original prick piers morgan than is jeff for dave.

    storage wars producers should consider giving all the stars a raise. all are needed to keep the show as fun to watch as it was before…and look at what stars in the other 2 shows get paid. 20k apeice is peanuts comparison!

    the young gun/mogul/gambler/collector should take up collective bargianing.

    att:dave-why not suggest this to the others instead of f.-ing up the d. show/all of your gravy train? wake up, f. head….

  64. andrew says:

    They say they only show the lockers that are successful, but ur telling me 3 out of the 4 cast wins a lockers every episode, and majority of the time its a good unit

  65. the writers suck says:

    I am happy to see no Dave on this stupid show. But since the show is scripted like all these “reality shows it doesn’t matter who is on thew show becase they see just reading or saying what the writers told them top say. Jeff made two comments while talking about the Russian dolls that sounded just like Barry. Why would a reality show need writers. It’s even the same writers for Pawn Stars, Rick Restoration, Pickers and Storage Wars. That is why it always sounds like the same person talking. Goodbye Dave Hester, never liked you or your yup!

  66. hacheys says:

    Dave is an ahole and he is the most annoying on the show. Darryl is dumb. Have you listened to him when he talks? Very hick!

    Barry is the funniest on the show. He doesn’t trash the stuff in the storage lockers he buys, he donates it all. He is a good guy!

    So what if Jarrod and Brandi aren’t married! Who cares! Do we not live in the 21st Century? Get over it! Who cares if Brandi was a stripper! My god people, seriously? Do you not realize how many actors and actressess were strippers, porn stars or posed nude at least once in their lifetime?

    The show is interesting, but Dave has to go and who is this Jeff Jarred guy? He is weird and annoying! If he is supposed to replace Dave, then A&E needs to do better than that!

    Also, I find the auctioneer, Dan Dotson, so damn annoying and ugly!!!! His wife has a really wide mouth too. When the camera is on Dan and he is explaining the rules to everyone, take a look at his wife haha her mouth is always opened WIDE!!

  67. T. says:


  68. Chele Fern-Swan says:

    Fire Dave YUUUP!!! I’ll take his job on the show for 1/2 of what he are bitching about.

  69. Lisa says:

    Dave is arrogant and annoying. Barry is who makes the show. Never know what he is going to do next. He should give his left overs he doesn’t want to Jarrod and Brandi instead of trashing it.

  70. Vin says:

    Barry truly makes the show!!! He’s the best!! He makes my fiancé and I laugh a ton. Would love to hang out with him sometime.. That would be a kick.

  71. T says:

    American pickers is good. They have the contacts and have to pay for gas. Otherwise the items will be sitting there rotting AND forgotten. I just got into storage wars. I like it but Dave got on my nerves by the 3rd week with his up bidding. Bad karma Sir

  72. Tory says:

    American pickers is good. They have the contacts and have to pay for gas. Otherwise the items will be sitting there rotting AND forgotten. I just got into storage wars. I like it but Dave got on my nerves by the 3rd week with his up bidding. Bad karma Sir

  73. Pfo says:

    10,000 an episode? Honey Boo Boo makes 20,000 per show. Now that is a crime in itself.

  74. Robert Muir says:

    You know, a lot of people say the show is fake, but there are a ton of auction shows out there, and I sure as hell bet that Antique Roadshow isn’t staged, there is a lot of editing done, and the people who shop lockers are businessmen (and women), and offer appraisals for air time on A&E, it is very profitable, but expertise is what makes the profits.