Mike Rowe is ready to get his hands dirty again.
The Emmy-winning TV host is back with a new season of fan-favorite show “Dirty Jobs.” The Discovery series, which originally aired in 2005, highlighted professions that seemed strange, messy and even dangerous, but were done by ordinary Americans. Rowe took a typical workday to demonstrate the challenges of the trade and why they were necessary.
As “Dirty Jobs” came to an end in 2012, viewers longed for the 59-year-old to bring it back. And with the coronavirus pandemic highlighting the importance of essential workers in our country, Rowe believed “dirty jobs” were needed more than ever.
Rowe told Fox News why he brought “Dirty Jobs” back, how easy it was to find different gigs, and why now was the time to pick up a new skill for good pay.
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FoxNews: Why did you decide to bring “Dirty Jobs” back to 2022?
Mike Rowe: Well, I guess the short answer is that the headlines have caught up with the themes of the show. Viewers have reached out in the thousands to say that “Dirty Jobs” was the granddaddy of essential work shows, and essential work is now making headlines. I was told, “Why don’t you go back out into the world? Look under the rock, see what’s down there. See what the job is like after two years of confinement.” It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Just when I thought I was out, they took me back inside.
FoxNews: Was it difficult or easy to find jobs you haven’t tried yet?
Row: It is both difficult and easy. It’s difficult in the sense that I’m out of ideas. I ran out of ideas in Season 3. I thought we were done in 2007. But then I did some smart things – really smart things. I gave it all back to the viewers. Look, I’ll keep doing the show as long as you keep scheduling it.
For the past 15 years, I’ve received letters every day on social media and the like from people saying, “You should see what my grandpa is doing. Or my brother, my cousin, my uncle, my sister, my mother. And these are jobs that have lasted for almost 20 years. That’s where the ideas come from. So in that sense, it’s easy.
FoxNews: It looks like you’ve tackled every job imaginable. What work surprised you the most this time around and why?
Row: It wasn’t the jobs that surprised this time around. It’s something they all have in common, which is the difficulty of recruiting. Four and a half million people have just left their jobs in this country. We currently have 11 million open positions.
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So what I’ve really noticed this time around, whether it’s a construction job, a fishing operation, a flooring operation, or really all of them – the theme that keeps coming up is how it’s hard to find people who want to learn a skill that’s in demand. Someone who comes 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.
FoxNews: How many of these jobs are in dire need of labor, especially during the pandemic?
Row: All. Just in terms of “dirty jobs”, there isn’t a single job I’ve seen that doesn’t have a help wanted sign right now, right in front of it. It’s in all the companies we’ve featured in “Dirty Jobs” this year. They are actively recruiting. And that was also true in the past. We just didn’t make much of it. You just think people don’t want these jobs because they’re dirty and hard. But the truth is that with many of these jobs you can earn six figures.
There are so many stigmas, stereotypes and misperceptions that keep people from exploring these careers. I use “Dirty Jobs” in part to try to challenge some of these misperceptions. But I do it every day with my foundation, mikeroweWORKS. It evolved from “Dirty Jobs”. And that’s what I do full time. We give a few million dollars a year to kids who want to learn an in-demand skill. So between my founding and the headlines, “Dirty Jobs” really came at the right time. I think that allowed me to talk about some of these topics.
FoxNews: What do you hope audiences will take away from “Dirty Jobs” in 2022?
Row: I hope they will laugh. First and foremost, it’s fun to talk about all the big themes and ideas around work and education. But it is also entertainment. It’s a love letter to hard work. It’s a love letter to risk and entrepreneurship. It’s mostly a nod to jobs that are still out of sight, out of mind.
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I hope people will see it for what it really is, which is not a spectacle. It’s a journey. You know, there’s no second take. There is no script, no writing, no rehearsal, no actor. 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 for a little laugh 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 streams on discovery+.