Sunday, March 30, 2008

"I explore the country looking for people who aren’t afraid to get dirty"

The Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs is one of the best shows on television, one that I've only just started watching a few months ago but have come to really enjoy. Fast Company has a good article about the show's host Mike Rowe. In addition to being the host, Rowe also came up with the concept for the show, which we should think of as an entrepreneurial venture in its own right:

After years of defining work as the thing that happens between vacations, Rowe caught himself by surprise. "I was cohosting the local Evening Magazine on CBS-5 in San Francisco, and did a segment called 'Somebody's Gotta Do It.'" The viewers loved it. So did he. Somewhere deep inside him, a kind of quest was taking shape. At CBS, he created a pilot of the segment and shopped it around as a stand-alone property. He offered it to Discovery twice. They passed twice. The feedback: "Mike, it's a talk show in a sewer."

That's when Rowe brought the tape to Piligian, the American Chopper producer. Rowe had worked with Piligian once before, on a 22-episode reality series called Worst Case Scenario, where Rowe was the in-studio host. Piligian saw the potential and brought Rowe's tape to his Discovery contact, Shawn Gallagher. "I knew immediately it could work," Gallagher remembers.

And it did, eventually. After a 3-episode pilot series in November 2003, Discovery ordered up 10 more, which started airing in July 2005. Rowe, who had signed on to host Deadliest Catch, an established franchise, jumped ship when the call came in to renew Dirty Jobs. The show quickly became a viewer favorite and the channel ordered 18 more new shows, then in late 2006, another 30. Fans can expect at least 24 new episodes to start airing in 2008.

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