Mike Rowe is a TV host, writer, narrator, producer, actor and spokesman. His performing career began in 1984, when he faked his way into the Baltimore Opera to get his union card and meet girls, both of which he accomplished during a performance of Rigoletto.
His transition to television occurred in 1990 when — to settle a bet — he auditioned for the QVC Shopping Channel and was promptly hired after talking about a pencil for nearly eight minutes.
Thanks to QVC, Mike became practiced at the art of talking for long periods without saying anything of substance, a skill that would serve him well as a TV host.
Throughout the ’90s, Mike had hundreds of jobs and relished his role as a chronic freelancer with lots of time to loaf around. Then, through a horrible miscalculation, he pitched a three-hour special to the Discovery Channel that ended up resulting in the show “Dirty Jobs.” Viewers liked it and Discovery responded by ordering 39 episodes — a shocking commitment that Mike was contractually obligated to honor. For the first time in his career, Mike went to work with a vengeance.
Over the next decade, Mike would become known as “the dirtiest man on TV.” He traveled to all 50 states and completed 300 different jobs, transforming cable television into a landscape of swamps, sewers, ice roads, coal mines, oil derricks, crab boats, hillbillies, and lumberjack camps. For this, received the credit and fame.
Eventually, Mike was overcome with a strange desire to give something back. On Labor Day 2008, he launched mikeroweWORKS, a PR campaign designed to reinvigorate the skilled trades.
Today, Mike runs the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which awards scholarships to students pursuing a career in the skilled trades. He is closely associated with the Future Farmers of America, Skills USA, and the Boy Scouts of America, who honored him as a Distinguished Eagle Scout. For reasons he cannot explain, Forbes identified Mike as one of the country’s 10 Most Trustworthy Celebrities in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Mike’s show, “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” debuted October 8, 2014 on CNN. From CNN’s press room blog: Rowe’s series Somebody’s Gotta Do It, brings viewers face-to-face with men and women who march to the beat of a different drum. In each episode, Rowe visits unique individuals and joins them in their respective undertakings, paying tribute to innovators, do-gooders, entrepreneurs, collectors, fanatics–people who simply have to do it. This show is about passion, purpose, and occasionally, hobbies that get a little out of hand. In 2017, Somebody’s Gotta Do It began airing on TBN on Saturday nights.
Mike’s next venture was to tip his cap, so to speak, to broadcast legend Paul Harvey. In Mike’s 21st century version, his podcast “The Way I Heard It” are short mysteries for those with a love for fascinating tales. As Mike states: All good stories have a twist, and all great storytellers are just a little twisted. Join me for a different take on the people and events that you thought you knew, from pop culture to politics, Hollywood to history…The Way I Heard It is a series of short mysteries for the curious mind with a short attention span. The Way I Heard It proved positive with podcast listeners and has hit #10 for podcast and publishers, and has been #1 on the short form podcast chart.
In August of 2017 Mike embarked on a web series, featured on Facebook WATCH. The program, Returning The Favor features people who are giving back to their communities. Mike and his crew took to the road searching America for bloody do-gooders, people who are slightly better than us doing nice things for their community in a completely selfless way. As he states in the intro, “We find them, we meet them…and then they surprise them.” Already in season 2 Returning the Favor reached over 200 million views in the first season alone. As Mike aptly put it, “it was the feel-good hit of the summer.”
And here are the pledges.