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A stuff snapshot

While dealing with our own clutter might prove daunting, we sure love to watch others hoard it, store it, and pawn it. How big has the trend become? As the TV by the Numbers ratings site reported, Pawn Stars’ first two episodes of 2012 “were back on top the cable ratings,” showing no evidence of decline; Pawn’s success has led to spin-offs and rip-offs, and even pushed the History Network to cable’s fifth most popular. Similarly, A&E’s Storage Wars, in which a savvy bunch of buyers bid on abandoned storage units, is now the network’s “top-rated nonfiction franchise.” Its spinoff, Storage Wars: Texas, saw its debut episode garner 4.1 million viewers—more, it should be pointed out, than many broadcast shows on at the same time. (The original Wars averages four-point-seven million viewers per episode, a stunning statistic for cable.) And then, of course, there is Hoarders, that endlessly creepy collection of startlingly odd collectors of, well, everything. (“Collectors” is a nice way to put it.) Its season five premiere “marked dramatic growth of sixty-percent among total viewers ... versus its season four average.”

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