Storage Wars: do viewers care about reality of collectibles?

Storage Wars is in the news for more than its return to the air tonight on A&E. Dave Hester and rumors that all isn't real on the reality TV show are topics A and B.

The triumphant return of Storage Wars on A&E has been much anticipated and tonight there are two new episodes that begin at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Dave Hester along with show regulars Dan and Laura Dotson, Barry Weiss, Jarrod and Brandi as well as Darrell and son Brandon gather for the first installment that finds the bidders in Compton, California.

Immediately following that Storage Wars travels to Murrieta, California and in A&E's show synopsis we learn that Hester is in attendance once again but that Jeff Jarred makes an appearance as well.

Starting next week it looks like we'll be without Mr. Yuuup.

A request to media relations at A&E produced a response that disappointed when it chose not to comment on the reports that Hester has either caused trouble for the show or is in the midst of a contract dispute.

Other celebrity and television show websites claim to have inside info into the mess that has become Storage Wars. Read: Is Dave Hester not long for this world on Storage Wars?

Could Hester have lashed out and questioned the authenticity of the show or leaked what he and others know? Looks like it.

The rumors are that producers up the ante on what items are "found" in storage lockers by planting some humdingers.

Is that really important for overall satisfaction of viewing? Not for this fan.

Most of the valuable collectibles are hidden from view prior to the bidding process. Then comes the funny bidding in which Hester tests everyone's patience, while the others plot how to stymie him.

The dialogue as they pick through what they bought is priceless and then there is the schlepping to appraisers for the big reveal about whether they scored big.

If all the show regulars found was bedding, old lawn mowers, household items and used sporting equipment it wouldn't have that special zing.

The question is whether we'd still watch and enjoy it as much if we were certain that treasures were planted rather than found.

Where do you come down on that? And what about Hester being absent for a while or forever? Whether you love him or hate him, you watch him.

Fans will get their chance to remember Jeff Jarred once again and that can only be a good thing for controversy. Read about Jarred and the storm of protest he stirred up last season.

A&E airs new episodes of Storage Wars Tuesday nights. Check local listings for time and channel from your cable or satellite provider. Image: A&E/Wow Factor t-shirt. Buy it, here.