There’s a potentially interesting show buried within “Hollywood Treasure,” but the producers chose the wrong protagonists. Examining showbiz memorabilia through an auction house — however eager the staff — feels like just another Bravo wannabe in an offbeat workplace setting. What tickles one’s curiosity, rather, are the buyers — several of whom fret about their wives killing them over bids — and sellers receiving very-welcome infusions of cash. Alas, they’re just intriguing blips in a show that focuses on Joe Maddalena, the fast-talking proprietor of Profiles in History auction house. It’s a valiant try, perhaps, but ultimately, no sale.
Indeed, Maddalena seems like he could be trying to sell you pretty much anything — a used car, say, or cheap suit (“We got portly, we got tall”) on latenight TV. Nor do any of his minions particularly stand out as they hustle about seeking artifacts for the next auction that is, inevitably, mere days away.
It’s just that we’ve seen this movie (or rather, reality-TV show) before, dozens of times, in more glamorous settings. And having each half-hour (two will air back to back) conclude with an auction doesn’t really foster much suspense.
The best part, in fact, is simply ignored: Who are these guys spending tens of thousands on arcane “Lost in Space” loot? Where do they store or display such stuff? You might see them ambling around Comic-Con, but what happens when they go home to their crypts? And what does it mean for a student to discover he has a bag from the original “Mary Poppins” in the attic that’s potentially worth a small fortune?
As for star wattage, the brightest light “Treasure” can unearth is a cameo by Dawn Wells — yep, “Gilligan’s Island’s” Mary Ann — allowing the Profiles team to peddle some of her possessions. Then again, older stars cashing in on decades-old fame, frankly, is another better series waiting to happen, although VH1 and A&E pretty much have blanketed that turf.
Yet all those personalities are mere extras, basically, in a series that casts Maddalena as the star. The resulting parcel is Hollywood-adjacent, maybe, but as constructed, there’s nothing in it to treasure.