Mike Rowe has developed a seriously devoted fan base — an audience that has followed him since the start of his “Dirty Jobs” show in 2003 — and Discovery has just rebooted the series that made him a household name.
During the first iteration of the reality show, Rowe said the surprising element in each episode was always the job he was doing. Now, though, amid a serious labor crisis and an aggressively downturned economy, Rowe is more taken aback by the fact that so few people are applying for these jobs, many of which come with six-figure salaries.
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“It’s not the jobs that were surprising this time around,” the award-winning host told Fox News. “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.”
While the hiring issue was present among blue collar work long before the pandemic, it has only worsened amid COVID-19. There are currently some 11 million blue-collar job openings, and all of them are in “dire” need of being filled.
“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,” Rowe said. “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.”
He went on to note that, while some of the labor-intensive jobs aren’t immediately desirable, those who work them often wind up with six-figure salaries.
Rowe said he has been hearing from fans who have wanted a reboot of the show since it ended in 2012.
Interestingly enough, though, the Discovery host admitted he “ran out of ideas” himself in the third season of the show, and had to rely on viewers to come up with all kinds of dirty, intense, and unexpected jobs.
Thankfully, he’s now sitting on a stockpile of content. He said he hears from people all across the country, many of them reaching out to Rowe via social media to tell him about a “dirty job” he needs to highlight.
The famed TV personality said he wanted to bring back the show in hopes of educating people about the jobs that are so readily available to them.
“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,” he told Fox News. “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.”
He reiterated the fact that the show has no script, writing, or rehearsing; the camera crew members are filming Rowe’s real-time reactions to the tasks at hand.
“It’s an honest look at a hard day’s work through the eyes of an apprentice,” he explained. “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.”
New episodes of the revived “Dirty Jobs” are Sundays at 8 p.m. on Discovery and stream on Discovery+.