Why Is Pawn Stars Popular? Check Your Tricorder. - Walter Sabo

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Cover image for  article: Why Is Pawn Stars Popular? Check Your Tricorder. - Walter Sabo

As a media titan, I am asked two, three, four times a day why Pawn Stars is popular? Why is it often the number 1 cable show and often wins the night, period? Often while dinning at Michael's, the media titan cafeteria in midtown Manhattan there is a receiving line at my table of the curious asking about the success of Pawn Stars. Happiness at Michael's is determined by how closely you are seated near Barry Diller. For example, I often hear the rumor that Barry is at Michael's at the same time I am, but it's just a rumor since I have no visual confirmation.

Steve Millington, the focused Michael's General Manager visits your table and regales you with stories of fellow patrons whom he knows you despise in an effort to endear you. Most hosts tell stories about people you know AND like to relax you. Steve prefers to turn tables through agitation. I love Steve. It's a New York thing.


Pawn Stars is like the original version of Star Trek, which is the DNA of its success:

1. One person is in charge of the enterprise. Rick listens briefly to his family of co-workers, acknowledges them then dismisses their input and does what he wants to do anyway--just like Captain Kirk.

2. The old man sounds exactly like Dr. McCoy. The Old Man only believes in gold and silver. He named the store after gold and silver. Dr. McCoy does not like new technology or having to examine foreign objects like anthropomorphic rocks.

3. Strange weapons are involved in every single episode.

4. Oddly costumed aliens visit the flight deck or the periphery either as wise advisers or hucksters. What's the deal with the guy in the Amish hat who works at the Cook County Museum? Vegas, a Museum? You go there when you have lost every single dime you ever had and the kids still want to do stuff.

5. Gunpowder could explode at any time. The Pawn Stars like to shoot old guns that could explode in your face and kill you. Captain Kirk rediscovered the formula for gunpowder on a strange planet and it could have killed him.

6. None of the characters have backstories. Where do the Pawn Stars live? Are they married?

7. No women have real responsibility. Finally Pawn Stars introduced a woman character on the overnight shift but apparently she's been dismissed. What was her name? Nurse Chapel?

8. Both shows feature strange vehicles that could kill you if improperly navigated.

9. Translation is often required.

10. Even Kirk had to listen to a higher power: Federation Law. Whenever a gun is brought to the Pawn Shop, Rick explains that if it's too new, Federal Law prevents him from buying it. If a really neat secret document is presented, Rick asks, "Is it legal for you to own this?" Kirk is always worried about straying from Federation Space.

11. In the end there is a lot of male jousting and good natured ribbing. The wisdom of the Captains' dictates is always justified during credits.

Nancy Dubuc is a genius.

Walter Sabo is the Chairman of Sabo Media, a company that offers executive-on-demand services. He has worked on-site to build out new digital content platforms such as Sirius/XM. His team was the first to discover the marketing clout of web stars, Internet organic video producers. They founded OMMA award winning HITVIEWS. The company placed brands such as CBS, TiVo and Mountain Dew inside UGC. In FM broadcasting he is a leader in the profitable sector of FM Talk and held executive positions at NBC and ABC Radio. He can be reached at walter@sabomedia.com.

Read all Walter's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Sabo Strategies.

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