Antiques Roadshow started out as a special on the BBC. However, the special proved to be so popular that it led to a successful show on the same channel, which in turn, led to an American version on PBS. For context, the American version of Antiques Roadshow started up in 1997, meaning that it has been running for more than two decades. As such, it is natural for viewers to wonder how the show has changed over time.
How Has Antiques Roadshow Evolved Over the Course of Its Existence?
For the most part, the basic format of Antiques Roadshow has remained the same. In short, each episode starts with a short introduction by the host, which comes with a mention of the location where it was filmed. Afterwards, there is a succession of short segments featuring people speaking with appraisers about their antiques, which will cover the background, the nature, and the value of those antiques. Mixed in with these appraisals are more informal appraisals as well, which are called over-the-shoulder appraisals. Eventually, the episode will come to an end with another short narration by the host, which will be followed by short clips of people speaking about their experiences with Antiques Roadshow shown alongside the credits.
Having said this, the basic format hasn’t remained 100 percent the same for the simple reason that so much time has passed. However, the changes tend to be so slow and so minute that they can seem timeless to interested individuals. For example, the current host of Antiques Roadshow is Mark Walberg, meaning that he isn’t the first person to host the show. However, since Walberg has been in that position since 2006, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that he has long since become a fixture of Antiques Roadshow. Likewise, while the interview clips shown at the very end have become very familiar by this point in time, it should be mentioned that they weren’t there in the beginning but were instead added on in the later seasons.
Based on this, it would be very easy to be lulled into the belief that Antiques Roadshow is some kind of invincible dreadnought that doesn’t need to change much to continue succeeding at bringing in the viewers. However, that is very far from being the case, as shown by the fact that Antiques Roadshow has been suffering from a fall in viewership numbers in the same manner as other TV programs. In fact, the fall has been as bad as 21 percent since 2012 and 2013, which explains why the people behind it have been scrambling to come up with something to make it more capable of capturing and holding the viewers’ interest.
One example of these initiatives is how Antiques Roadshow is now heading to historic spaces instead of remaining within convention centers and the like. In short, this change is meant to showcase beautiful, unusual, or otherwise interesting surroundings, thus providing the show with an extra edge. Moreover, this change is a proven method for bolstering the show’s appeal, seeing as how the British version has been using it for about a decade’s time.
Some people might think that this seems like a simple change. However, it really isn’t. For an example of the effort needed to implement the change, consider how Antiques Roadshow has built up a database of convention centers and similar spaces throughout the United States over the course of its existence, which makes it very easy for the people behind the show to choose where to head next. In contrast, Antiques Roadshow has no such database for suitable historic landmarks and the like because it isn’t something that the people behind it were interested in before the change. Certainly, a new database can be built up, but that is the kind of thing that is going to take a lot of time and effort, not least because the show can’t afford to make mistakes that would disrupt its schedule.
Summed up, the sheer length of time that Antiques Roadshow has been running can make it seem like it has remained both unbowed and unchanged by time. However, that is not the case, as shown by the people behind the show who are examining the circumstances under which they operate for the purpose of keeping it competitive versus the full range of other entertainment possibilities that can be found out there.