Published October 08, 2013
NEW YORK – Unlike many reality show families, the Harrisons (and buddy Chumlee), of “Pawn Stars,” aren’t exactly tabloid magnets. In fact, since their show made-it-big in 2009, the History Channel stars have remained scandal-free… almost.
Last year, the Harrisons were thrust into the headlines when their shop girl-- and co-star at the time-- Olivia Black was canned by History after it was revealed she did some racy nude modeling, a decision Rick Harrison had no part in, he said.
He told FOX411 he made it a point to keep her on as a member of the Gold & Silver Pawn staff, albeit off cameras.
“I never fired her. She’s out doing her own thing now. It’s just the production company did not want her working there anymore. What she does in her personal life…is her business,” he explained.
Black confirmed that she has since left her job at Gold & Silver Pawn, simply stating: “It was very apparent my time there was done.”
Harrison, his father Richard, his son Corey, and co-star Austin “Chumlee” Russell, also got wrapped into a lawsuit with former manager Wayne Jefferies, who claimed he was forced out of the show by producers.
“The more money you make, the more times people sue you,” Harrison said. “People are always going to…eventually go to sue you for something.”
But these little scandals are all part of Harrison’s newfound fame, which has continued to grow over the past few years.
“I am just a normal guy and suddenly I am really, really famous. It’s definitely got its perks; I never have to wait in line at a restaurant,” he said. “On the flip side, I have small children. Our youngest ones are 10 and 12, and it’s sort of a pain to try and go out and play miniature golf.”
The show, which will air all new episodes beginning on Thursday, has changed over the years as well.
“We get a lot of cooler, neater stuff in every day. That’s the reason why I think the show is still so successful. It’s something different every week. That’s why it does so well.”
But Harrison guarantees the new episodes will follow the same successful format of past seasons. In the series, customers bring unique items to Harrison’s Gold & Silver Pawn and the shop workers or experts evaluate the items, and then a bit of haggling usually ensues.
The show has an educational aspect too, he said. Cast members always explain the historical significance of the antiques brought into the shop.
“It’s not a replacement for college, but I try to give nice little snippets of history. And I hope that turns around and people get really interested in history.”
Harrison first took an interest in history when he suffered from epileptic seizures as a child. He spent weeks confined to his bed and the only television in his home was downstairs, so he began reading history books to keep entertained. He now works with the Epilepsy Foundation.
“I got interested in history books when I was 8 [or] 9 years old. To this day, I don’t watch television,” he said.
So does he watch “Pawn Stars?”
“Never!” he said. “When the premiere of the show came out, we threw a big party and like five minutes into the party me and Corey walked out of the party and said… ‘No one’s ever gonna watch this.’”
The cast just signed on for 80 more episodes of the show.
All new episodes of “Pawn Stars” premiere on History Channel on Thursday, Oct. 10.