Mike Rowe

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Mike Rowe
Mike Rowe.jpg
Rowe appears in February 2010.
Born Michael Gregory Rowe
(1962-03-18) March 18, 1962 (age 54)
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Residence San Francisco, California
Alma mater Towson University
Occupation Television host, narrator
Website www.mikerowe.com

Michael Gregory Rowe (born March 18, 1962) is an American actor primarily known as a television host and narrator. Known for his work on the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs and the CNN series Somebody's Gotta Do It. Rowe has narrated programs on the Discovery Channel, The Science Channel and National Geographic Channel such as Deadliest Catch, How the Universe Works, and Shark Week. He has appeared on commercials for firms such as the Ford Motor Company. On Facebook he has 4+ million followers, where his frequent essays draw anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of "likes". He's served as a social activist on the causes of economic growth and job expansion as well. Past efforts include being a singer performing opera and as a salesman.

Early life and personal interests[edit]

Rowe was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to John and Peggy Rowe. Rowe stated in commercials for Dirty Jobs that the show is a tribute to his father and grandfather. Rowe became a Scout in 1979 in Troop 16 in Baltimore.[1] During his service project for Eagle Scout at the Maryland School for the Blind, he read aloud to students, and he cites this as one of the reasons he became interested in narrating and writing.[1][2] On being an Eagle Scout, he said "The Eagle Award is not really meant for people who need to be dragged across the finish line. It's meant for a select few... ."'[1] In June 2012, Rowe was awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America.[3]

Rowe attended Kenwood Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, which his parents still regularly attend. He graduated from Overlea High School, where he excelled in theater and singing under the choir director Freddie King, whom Rowe credits for his interest in performing.[4] He then studied at Essex Community College,[4] briefly singing with the Chorus of the Chesapeake, directed at the time by Freddie King. He graduated from Towson University[5] with a degree in communication studies.[6]

Rowe sang professionally with the Baltimore Opera.[7][8] He says about this job, "I joined the opera to get my union card and meet girls. I was a saloon singer, so I went down to the Baltimore Opera and learned an aria and auditioned. I figured I'd do one show and quit. But the girls were everywhere and the truth is, the music was really decent."[9]

Rowe has been a lifelong fan of radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, with him being one of Rowe's biggest influences.[10]

Television career[edit]

As host[edit]

In early 1990s, Rowe was an on-air host for the home-shopping TV network QVC.[11] In a 2006 interview, Rowe related how he got the job at QVC: "I was in the opera at the time. I walked across the street with a buddy of mine during a performance. We're dressed as Vikings and we have a drink. The TV is turned to QVC .... My buddy bets me $100 I can't get a call back. So I crashed the audition and got a job on the spot. I basically turned the whole thing into my own stupid David Letterman show. I made fun of the callers and made fun of the products."[9]

Rowe has claimed that QVC fired him three times.[9] When told in a 2008 episode of Dirty Jobs that the gourds he was working on would be sold via QVC, he said he was familiar with the corporation and proceeded to ad-lib a sales pitch for them.[12]

Rowe has hosted Your New Home for WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Worst Case Scenarios for TBS, On-Air TV for American Airlines, The Most for The History Channel, No Relation for FX,[13] New York Expeditions for PBS, Channel 999 instructional guide for the defunct PrimeStar satellite television service, and the CD-ROM music trivia game Radio Active (as "Bobby Arpeggio") for defunct Sanctuary Woods.

From 2001 to 2005, Rowe hosted Evening Magazine on KPIX-TV in San Francisco. During this time, he appeared in a news segment called "Somebody's Gotta Do It", profiling a number of unpleasant professions; the concept later grew into Dirty Jobs. Rowe's first work with the Discovery Channel included a trip to the Valley of the Golden Mummies to host Egypt Week Live!, where he explored ancient tombs live with Dr. Zahi Hawass, an Egyptian archaeologist.

In September 2012, Rowe hosted a three-part series How Booze Built America on the Discovery Channel.

CNN announced on April 10, 2014, that Rowe would host Somebody's Gotta Do It, a new "Original Series" that began in the Fall 2014 lineup. Rowe highlights "unique individuals" in their respective passionate undertakings, whether it be work, hobby or fanaticism. Somebody's Gotta Do It is produced by Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Studios.[14]

As narrator[edit]

In addition to hosting programs, Rowe has an extensive background as a narrator. His work with Discovery Channel includes narrating American Chopper, American Hot Rod, Deadliest Catch, Wild Pacific, and Ghost Lab, as well as other Discovery specials and series such as How the Universe Works, and Syfy's Ghost Hunters. Rowe has hosted the Discovery Channel's annual Shark Week in 2006 and 2008, along with hosting the special You Spoof Discovery, an amateur parody video special which poked fun at some of the popular series on the Discovery Channel's lineup.[15] Rowe is currently the narrator for National Geographic Channel's series Wicked Tuna.

On Dirty Jobs, Rowe frequently mocks his seeming omnipresence on Discovery Channel; when a segment on firefighting and salvage was unable to be completed in a single day, he assured his firefighter host that he would "send over the MythBusters ... maybe the American Chopper boys ... [to finish the job]".

Mike Rowe poses for a photo during filming at Skulls Unlimited International.

Rowe was originally tapped to be the on-screen host of the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch, a show about crab fishing in the Bering Sea, and shot footage aboard several crab boats in addition to narrating the series. When Dirty Jobs was picked up by Discovery, he was told to choose which show he wanted to appear in on-screen. Rowe claims he was told by Discovery that the shows would air back-to-back on the same night: "We can't have you telling us stories about six dead fishermen on camera and making a fart joke with your arm in a cow's ass".[16] Rowe chose to host Dirty Jobs and narrate Deadliest Catch; the footage of him on the boats was not used in the series, although he did appear in a season finale of Deadliest Catch, interviewing the boat captains. Rowe hosted a related show about life on the Bering Sea, a 2007 miniseries, After the Catch, a show which has continued after each season of Deadliest Catch.

Other narration work by Rowe includes Mystery Diagnosis, Drydock: A Cruise Ship Reborn, Southern Steel, Powertool Drag Racing, Scavengers Rock (Animal Planet), Airplane Repo and the opening of Ghost Hunters, a Syfy series from the producers of American Chopper. Additionally, Rowe has done voiceover work for the reality television show The Ultimate Fighter and the NASCAR pre-race show for the 2009 Chase on ESPN.[17]

From December 21, 2009 to June 2012, Rowe was the announcer on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.[18][19]

He hosts a podcast called The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe.

Additional appearances[edit]

On October 7, 2007, Rowe appeared on Fox's American Dad! as the voice of a meter maid.[20]

Rowe appeared on an episode of Sesame Street (Season 39) in a segment called "Dirtiest Jobs With Mike Rowe", which aired on October 13, 2008. Rowe visits Sesame Street to find the dirtiest job, which happens to belong to Oscar. Rowe must do all the things Oscar does. His tasks include finding and counting stinky cheese, sorting trash, and giving his pet pig, Spot, a mud bath. To Oscar's chagrin, Rowe does not want to stop, as he is having too much fun.

Mike Rowe spoke to more than 70,000 scouts, leaders, and visitors at the 2010 National Scout Jamboree in Fort AP Hill, Virginia, and a second time at the 2013 National Scout Jamboree in Bechtel Summit.[21] Rowe, an Eagle Scout, spoke to the crowd about the importance of being physically and mentally clean, but emphasized the need for all scouts to get dirty.[22]

In 2012, Rowe appeared in an episode of the ABC sitcom Last Man Standing playing the role of Jim Baxter, the brother of Tim Allen's character.

In June 2013, Mike Rowe spoke to the delegates at the 49th Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference for SkillsUSA in Kansas City, Missouri. He addressed the crowd of 15,000+ at Kemper Arena about the importance to "Work Smart and Hard".[23]

As pitchman[edit]

In 1998, Rowe was the television spokesperson for Epic Pharmacy, a Baltimore-area association of independent pharmacies.

Beginning in March 2007, he was featured in several Ford Motor Company F-Series truck commercials, presented in a style similar to Dirty Jobs, including one for Ford Sync.[24][25] In the summer of 2009, he appeared in advertisements for Ford and Lincoln-Mercury vehicles that used the tagline: "Why Ford. Why Now."[26]

In 2008, Rowe partnered with W. W. Grainger, a Chicago-based Fortune 500 industrial supply company.

In 2010, Rowe appeared in internet spots for Motorola iDEN combined radios/mobile phones, explaining that the phones were used "by real people, for real work" as they were used for Dirty Jobs-type applications.

In 2010, Rowe partnered with Lee Premium Select Jeans and appeared in television spots wearing jeans that "make my butt look good".

On July 26, 2010, Rowe became the spokesperson for Caterpillar. Rowe will work with dealers and customers "to get a real world perspective on their jobs".[27]

In 2011, Rowe appeared with his parents in television spots for Viva paper towels.[28]

In 2012, Rowe became a spokesperson for Novartis animal health to educate pet owners about fleas. The campaign is called “The Dirty Truth about Fleas.”

Trade activism[edit]

On Labor Day 2008, Rowe launched a website, mikeroweWORKS.com, which is focused on the decline in the blue collar trades and the crumbling state of the infrastructure. A trade resource center has been launched and provides information, resources, and forums for people interested in learning about, or pursuing a career in, the trades,[1] as well as a new blog aggregator for the trades and construction industry called the "Trades Hub", which launched in April 2011.

On September 19, 2010, Mike Rowe and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers started a campaign called "I Make America". The campaign aims to create jobs in the manufacturing sector by encouraging infrastructure investment and export agreements. The group argues that this will improve the economy and global competitiveness of the United States.[29]

Mike Rowe has contributed video content to The Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute's trade-worker recruiting campaign GoBuildAlabama.com, culminating in an Iron Bowl-themed commercial broadcast on local CBS affiliates during Thanksgiving weekend 2010.[30]

In May 2011, Rowe testified on the issue before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.[31][32]

Rowe sent a letter to President Obama at the start of his first term offering to help promote the 3 million "shovel-ready" jobs promised during the campaign, suspecting it might be a tough sell, "given the country's then-current relationship with the shovel." He did not receive a reply. During the 2012 presidential election, Rowe contacted GOP candidate Mitt Romney and appeared with him on September 26, 2012, at a campaign event in Ohio. Romney explained to those in attendance, "He's non partisan, he's not here to endorse me, he's not here to add support to one campaign or another," Romney said of his guest. "He's here to talk about his ideas about how to help America create more jobs." [33]

In Spring 2013, mikeroweWORKS launched its newest initiative, Profoundly Disconnected. Rowe states, "many of the best opportunities that exist today require a skill, not a diploma. The purpose of this site is to promote that simple truth." While in high school in 1979, Rowe saw a poster in his guidance counselor's office that read "Work Smart, Not Hard". He hated it so much, he changed it to "Work Smart AND Hard"; he now prints such posters and wants them hanging all over the country to get people to change the way hard work is perceived.[34]

Despite his criticism of student loans and the rising cost of tuition, he has carried on a partnership with Universal Technical Institute. UTI is a for-profit trade school investigated by the Senate. In its investigation, the Senate found that UTI did not provide a better education than a community college, but charged significantly more.[35]

Personal life and views[edit]

Rowe resides in San Francisco, California.[36][10] As stated above, he is an Eagle Scout and promoter of scouting.[10] He received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the administration of the Boy Scouts of America in 2012.[3]

Rowe describes himself as a cheerleader for both blue-collar workers and white-collar workers, hoping to promote individual initiative and positive thinking throughout the U.S. economy. He has stated that he feels alienated from the current U.S. political system given that both business owners and regular workers receive, in his opinion, unfair criticism, with issues such as geographical mismatching and a lack of job training causing unemployment. Rowe is a gun owner and a supporter of the U.S. 2nd Amendment; however, he's not a member of the National Rifle Association or any similar group.[10]

In 2016, Rowe was subject to a group of baseless rumors falsely describing his death, leading him to quote the famous line attributed to Mark Twain: "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."[10]



Title Year Role Notes Source
Airplane Repo 2013 – present Narrator
American Hot Rod 2004 Narrator
After the Catch 2007 – 2012 Host
American Dad! 2007 Meter Maid Season 3 Episode 2
Bering Sea Gold 2013 – 2014 Host
Bering Sea Gold: Under The Ice 2013 Host
Building America 2014 Host & Narrator TheBlaze
C.R.A.P. 2013 – present Host web series [37][38]
Dirty Jobs 2003 – 2012 Host
Deadliest Catch 2005 – present Narrator
Ghost Hunters 2004 – 2010 Narrator
Ghost Hunters International 2008 – 2010 Narrator
How the Universe Works 2010, 2014 – present Narrator Seasons 1, 3 and 4
Huckabee 2013 Himself
The Most 2000 – 2004 Host & Narrator
Somebody's Gotta Do It 2014 – 2015 Host
Wild Pacific 2009 Himself
Worst Case Scenarios 2002 Host
The Ultimate Fighter 2005 – 2010 Narrator
Last Man Standing 2012 Jim Baxter Season 1 Episode 18
America's Greatest Makers 2016 Guest Judge

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "It's A Dirty Job And He Gets to Do It!". Eagletter. Irving, Texas: National Eagle Scout Association, Boy Scouts of America. 35 (2): 3–5. Fall 2009. 
  2. ^ "Transcript of March 7, 2006, Online Chat with Mike Rowe". Discovery Channel. March 7, 2006. Archived from the original on June 18, 2006. Retrieved January 1, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Mike Rowe – Distinguished Eagle Scout Award". United States Scouting Service Project. June 4, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Mike Rowe Interview". Barbershop Harmony Society. Archived from the original on November 8, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2017. 
  5. ^ "You Ask, He Answers (Dirty Jobs FAQ)". Discovery Channel. Retrieved March 22, 2007. 
  6. ^ "The Towerlight - The Dirt on Mike Rowe". The Towerlight. Retrieved July 11, 2010. 
  7. ^ Banks, Susan (January 28, 2007). "TV Review: Mike Rowe dishes up "Dirty Jobs"". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 30, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Mike Rowe bio" on Discovery.com
  9. ^ a b c "Sure it's a dirty job, but...". Retrieved December 20, 2008. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Nick Gillespie & Todd Krainin (October 21, 2016). "Mike Rowe Wears Trump's Robe, Fights a Drone, and Solves the Labor Shortage". Reason.com. Retrieved January 1, 2017. 
  11. ^ All Things Considered. National Public Radio, February 16, 2014.
  12. ^ The Complete Dirty Jobs Show Guide from Discovery Channel.com
  13. ^ Rowe, Mike (April 27, 2012). "Dick Clark". The Office. Mike Rowe Works. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  14. ^ "MIKE ROWE BRINGS ORIGINAL SERIES TO CNN". Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  15. ^ Mike Rowe at the Internet Movie Database
  16. ^ Collis, Clark (June 21, 2007). "Shock And Awe: The stars of Survivorman, The Deadliest Catch, and Dirty Jobs share jaw-dropping tales from their brave work". Entertainment Weekly. Time, Inc. Retrieved July 26, 2007. 
  17. ^ "1st Race of the 2009 Chase" on Mikeroweworks.com
  18. ^ "A Much Cleaner Job for Mike Rowe: The Voice of 'World News with Diane Sawyer'". Archived from the original on December 25, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2017. 
  19. ^ "The Ticker (Revolving Door Edition): O'Keefe, Kudravi, Rowe". Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  20. ^ Mike Rowe at the Internet Movie Database
  21. ^ "2013 Jambo Live Feed". Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  22. ^ Bowes, Mark (August 5, 2010). "2010 Scout Jamboree comes to an end". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved August 8, 2010. 
  23. ^ SkillsUSA (August 8, 2013). "Mike Rowe - Full Speech at Opening Ceremony of SkillsUSA's 2013 national conference". Retrieved June 9, 2016 – via YouTube. 
  24. ^ "Microsoft.com". 
  25. '^ Bernstein, Marty (March 1, 2007). "Dirty Jobs Mike Rowe To Tout Ford Trucks as Spokesperson". The Auto Channel. Retrieved March 22, 2007. 
  26. ^ Greenberg, Karl (October 12, 2009). "Mike Rowe Doing Tidy Job For Ford Trucks". MediaPost. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  27. ^ Kenny, Kate (July 26, 2010). "Mike Rowe Is Ready to Hit the Dirt with Caterpillar Customers and Dealers" (PDF). Caterpillar. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Mike Rowe and His Parents Join Viva Brand Towels to Tackle Tough Messes". Kimberly-Clark. February 14, 2011. Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  29. ^ "dead url". Retrieved June 9, 2016. [permanent dead link]
  30. ^ ""Dirty Jobs" host in Iron Bowl-themed commercial". Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Testimony of Mike Rowe". 
  32. ^ "Mike Rowe testifies before US Senate about the skilled trades - Youtube". 
  33. ^ "Romney gets down and 'Dirty' in Ohio". CNN. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Poster « Profoundly Disconnected". Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  35. ^ "Universal Technical Institute, Inc." (PDF). Retrieved January 1, 2017. 
  36. ^ Mirabella, Lorraine. "Mike Rowe, host of TV's 'Dirty Jobs,' tackles toughest task," The Baltimore Sun, Tuesday, January 18, 2011.
  37. ^ "'Dirty Jobs' Host Aims to Revitalize Trade Jobs". Retrieved June 9, 2016. 
  38. ^ "Mike Rowe". Retrieved June 9, 2016. 

External links[edit]