The History Channel’s Pawn Stars has a real location in Vegas, but if you go there you’ll see it’s flooded with tourists, and is therefore run more like a museum or tourist attraction than a regular pawn shop, but this doesn’t mean the show is fake.
Like most reality shows, Pawn Stars has scripted drama between the show’s stars,Rick, Hoss, and Chumlee. The items featured on the show are not cold customers just randomly walking in, the items have already been researched and prepped for the show. It’s these types of things that lead some to cynically label the whole show fake, but that’s a bit naive. Maybe it could do without some of the little sketch-like interludes, but truthfully those do help us get to know some of the characters better.
As for the vetted items, it would be practically impossible, and probably very expensive to just film random pawn deals hoping to get footage of a really interesting item. Getting the most interesting items sorted out helps make for a better show, and less stress on the show’s stars.
If you visit the shop itself, you can still pawn items if that’s what you’re interested in doing. Gold & Silver Pawn has 50 employes to serve you and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (There is a small window, though, that is open 24/7) If you go, it won’t look like it does on television because that shop is more like a television stage, which may be a little disappointing, but the show is so popular that it couldn’t possibly be as laid-back as it seems on the show, and the show’s stars aren’t even legally allowed to work the counter anymore because of Nevada’s privacy laws. Because people are constantly trying to take pictures of Rick, Corey Chumlee, and The Old Man, they may violate the privacy of others in the shop by accidentally taking a shot of them.
Here’s some video someone shot of going into the shop. Expect lots of people and lots of promotional merchandise for sale:
One thing you can be sure is real are the items, and the prices paid for them. The items are real, and the research is real.