Hardcore Pawn is an American reality television series produced by RDF USA (later Zodiak USA) and Richard Dominick Productions for truTV about the day-to day operations of American Jewelry and Loan, a family-owned pawn shop in Detroit, Michigan.
The series premiered on August 16, 2010.
American Jewelry and Loan is owned by Leslie "Les" Gold, the son of a pawnbroker who once owned Sam's Loans, a now-defunct pawnshop on Michigan Avenue in Detroit. Les first opened American Jewelry at the Green Eight Shopping Center on 8 Mile Road]] in Oak Park, Michigan in 1978, moving to its present location in 1993.
In 2011, American Jewelry expanded to its second location when it acquired Premier Jewelry and Loan in Pontiac, Michigan. The new location was featured in the first few episodes of Hardcore Pawns fifth season, At the end of this episode, Les tells Seth and Ashley that he plans on opening a second location, with one of them running it. and in two episodes of the sixth season, where Seth considers selling the Pontiac location behind Les's back.
Les's only son, Seth, a graduate of the University of Michigan handles the shop's marketing. Seth claims that if it wasn't for him, the shop's only marketing would be "an ad in the Yellow Pages". Les's daughter, Ashley (a college graduate from Michigan State University with a bachelor's degree in business administration) who returned to the shop after taking time off for maternity leave. The sibling rivalry between her and Seth is a common element of many episodes.
On January 25 2013, it was announced that the show had been renewed for a seventh season by TruTV. The show averaged 2.6 million viewers during its sixth season.
Comparison to Pawn StarsEdit
The show has been largely compared to Pawn Stars on History, but in the vein of similar programs (Operation Repo and All Worked Up for example), the focus is mainly on the human aspects of drama, rather than the significance of the items being brought into the shop.
Due to similarities to Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn has been described as simply being a knock-off and a capitalization on the breakout success of Pawn Stars.
According to Marc Juris of truTV, any similarities between the shows are coincidental. He also noted that Hardcore Pawn was in development for more than a year and two test episodes aired in December 2009. Regarding the initial identical time slot with Pawn Stars, Juris claimed the choice was made because Hardcore Pawn fit well with Operation Repo. The second season debuted in December 2010, in the Tuesday at 9 pm ET timeslot.
Reality versus scriptingEdit
Owner Les Gold said at the launch of the show that there would be no staged antics, products or characters on the show. However, New York Post writer Linda Stasi has opined that some situations in Hardcore Pawn are set up.
- Main article: List of Hardcore Pawn episodes
As of June 4, 2013, a total of 104 episodes, including two pilots, have been broadcast.
Repeats of Hardcore Pawn are also seen on occasion on TNT.
Hardcore Pawn has generated two spinoffs:
- Combat Pawn, a series about the employees and customers at Guns Plus, a gun shop located near the Fort Bragg military installation in North Carolina. Originally developed under the title "Hardcore Pawn: Fort Bragg", Combat Pawn debuted on truTV on Sunday July 15, 2012 at 10:30PM ET/PT.
- Hardcore Pawn: Chicago, which features Chicago's Royal Pawn Shop, a pawn shop owned by two brothers, Randy and Wayne Cohen, whose family has been in the business for over 100 years.