|Born||March 18, 1962
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Michael Gregory "Mike" Rowe (pronounced /ˈroʊ/) (born March 18, 1962) is an American media personality. He is the host of the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, as well as the narrator for other programs, including The Ultimate Fighter, Deadliest Catch, Ghost Lab, and Swamp Loggers.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Rowe has said in commercials for Dirty Jobs that the inspiration for doing the show was as a tribute to his father, and grandfather. Rowe became an Eagle Scout on January 2, 1979 in Troop 16 in Baltimore. During his service project for Eagle Scout at the Maryland School for the Blind, he read aloud for students, and he cites this as one of the reasons he became interested in narrating and writing. 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..."
As a child, Rowe attended Kenwood Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. He went to Overlea High School, where he excelled in both theatre and vocal music. After graduation, he attended Essex Community College, and briefly sang with the Chorus of the Chesapeake. He later graduated from Towson University.
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.
In the early 1990s Rowe hosted a time slot for QVC selling various items. When interviewed, Rowe relates 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.
Rowe claims that QVC fired him three times.
Rowe has hosted Your New Home for WJZ in Baltimore, Worst Case Scenarios for TBS, On-Air TV for American Airlines, The Most for The History Channel, No Relation for FX, New York Expeditions for PBS, Channel 999 instructional guide for the now defunct PrimeStar satellite television service, and the CD-ROM music trivia game Radio Active (as "Bobby Arpeggio") for now-defunct software publisher 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; this concept later grew into Dirty Jobs. Rowe's first work with Discovery included a trip to the Valley of the Golden Mummies to host Egypt Week Live!, where he explored ancient tombs live on air with Dr. Zahi Hawass, an Egyptian archaeologist.
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. Rowe has hosted the Discovery Channel's annual "Shark Week" since 2006, 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.
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]"
Rowe was originally tapped to be the on-air host of the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch, a show about crab fishing in the Bering Sea, and had shot show-host footage onboard several of the crab boats in addition to working on narration for 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 two shows would be airing back-to-back on the same night, thus, "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". Rowe chose to accept the Dirty Jobs role and narrate Deadliest Catch instead, and the footage of him on the boats was not used in the series, although Rowe does appear on camera on one of the season finale episodes of Deadliest Catch, interviewing the captains. Rowe hosted another show about life on the Bering Sea, a 2007 miniseries, After the Catch.
Other narration work by Rowe includes Mystery Diagnosis, Drydock: A Cruise Ship Reborn, Southern Steel, Powertool Drag Racing, Scavengers Rock (Animal Planet), and the opening of Ghost Hunters, a show from the producers of American Chopper, on Syfy. Additionally, Rowe has done voiceover work for the reality television show The Ultimate Fighter and the NASCAR pre-race show on ESPN.
Rowe appeared in an episode of Sesame Street (Season 39) 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. Mike 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 dismay, Mike doesn't want to stop, as he’s having too much fun.
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. In the summer of 2009, he appeared in advertisements for Ford and Lincoln-Mercury vehicles that used the tagline: "Why Ford. Why Now."
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.
Rowe currently resides in San Francisco, California.