Mike Rowe is ready to get his hands dirty again.
The Emmy Award-winning TV host is back with a new season of the fan-favorite show “Dirty Jobs.” The Discovery series, which originally aired in 2005, highlighted professions that appeared strange, messy and even dangerous but were completed by everyday Americans. Rowe would take on a typical workday to demonstrate the trade’s challenges and why they were necessary.
While “Dirty Jobs” came to an end in 2012, viewers have long asked the 59-year-old to bring it back. And with the coronavirus pandemic emphasizing the importance of essential workers in our country, Rowe thought “Dirty Jobs” was needed now more than ever.
Rowe spoke to Fox News about why he brought “Dirty Jobs” back, whether it was easy to find different gigs and why now is the best time to pick up a new skill for great pay.
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Fox News: Why did you decide to bring “Dirty Jobs” back in 2022?
Mike Rowe: Well, I guess the short answer is the headlines caught up to the themes of the show. Viewers reached out by the thousands to say “Dirty Jobs” was the granddaddy of essential working shows, and essential work is now headline news. I was told, “Why don’t you go back into the world? Look under the rock, see what’s there. See what work looks like after two years of lockdowns.” It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Just when I thought I was out they pulled me back in.
Fox News: How difficult or easy was it to find jobs that you haven’t tried yet?
Rowe: It’s both difficult and easy. It’s difficult in the sense that I don’t have any more ideas. I ran out of ideas in Season 3. I thought we were done back in 2007. But then I did a few smart things – genuinely smart things. I turned the whole thing over to the viewers. Like look, I’ll keep doing the show as long as you keep programming it.
For the last 15 years, I’ve been getting letters every day on social media and otherwise from people saying, “You should see what my grandfather does. Or my brother, my cousin, my uncle, my sister, my mom.” And these are jobs that have been going on for nearly 20 years. That’s where the ideas come from. So in that sense, it’s easy.
Fox News: It seems like you’ve tackled every job imaginable. Which job surprised you the most this time around and why?
Rowe: It’s not the jobs that were surprising this time around. It’s something they all have in common, which is difficulty in recruiting. We just had four and a half million people quit their jobs in this country. We’ve got 11 million open positions right now.
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So what I really noticed this time around, whether it was a construction job, a fishing operation, a flooring operation or really all of them – the theme that keeps coming back, again and again, is how difficult it is to find people who want to learn a skill that’s in demand. Someone who shows up early, stays late and isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty. It’s a real challenge. And that comes through this season in a big way.
Fox News: How many of those jobs are in dire need of workers, especially during the pandemic?
Rowe: All of them. Just in terms of “Dirty Jobs,” there’s not a single job I’ve seen that doesn’t have a help wanted sign right now, right out front. It’s in every single business we profiled on “Dirty Jobs” this year. They’re actively hiring. And that was true in the old days, too. We just didn’t make as big of a deal of it. You just figure people don’t want these jobs because they’re dirty and difficult. But the truth is that with many of these jobs you can make six figures.
There are so many stigmas and stereotypes and misperceptions that are keeping people from exploring these careers. I’m using “Dirty Jobs” in part to try and challenge some of those misperceptions. But I do that every day with my foundation, mikeroweWORKS. It evolved out of “Dirty Jobs.” And that’s what I do full time. We give a couple of million bucks a year to kids who want to learn a skill that’s in demand. So between my foundation and the headlines, “Dirty Jobs” really came back at the perfect time. I think it permitted me to talk about some of these subjects.
Fox News: What do you hope audiences will take away from “Dirty Jobs” in 2022?
Rowe: I hope they laugh. First and foremost, it’s fun to talk about all the big themes and all the important ideas around work and education. But it’s also entertainment. It’s a love letter to hard work. It’s a love letter to risk and entrepreneurship. Mostly it’s a nod to jobs that are still out of sight, out of mind.
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I hope people see it for what it really is, which is not a show. It’s a trip. You know, there are no second takes. There’s no scripting, no writing, no rehearsing, no acting. It’s an honest look at a hard day’s work through the eyes of an apprentice. I hope people see it for what it is and watch it to have a few laughs and maybe learn a thing or two about something they didn’t know they would care about.
“Dirty Jobs” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Discovery and streaming on discovery+.