“Some jobs are just too hideous to contemplate,” Mike Rowe told TV critics of their work at Summer TV Press Tour 2014. In fairness, he was asked. Rowe came to the tour to plug CNN’s new series Somebody’s Gotta Do It in which he hangs out with men and women to learn about their offbeat hobbies, passions and jobs.
“I don’t understand how your brains work,” he told TV critics, noting he’d just posted to Facebook photos of the rattlesnake and the power plant surrounded by live wire that he ran into yesterday, followed by a photo of the Summer TV Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton hotel, with the comment “My week is becoming progressively more dangerous.”
“It’s funny – people are so scared of you all,” Rowe said with breezy candor to which the critics were not accustomed at an event better known for its Deer Caught In Headlights/Overprepped By Publicists panelists. It was as though they’d just been bitten by a rabbit.
The former Dirty Jobs star described his new CNN show as being about “people who get up every day afflicted, because the world is not the way they want it to be.” He said his subjects are a “weird mix of love, compulsion, obsession, dedication.” They could include a square dancer who thinks the world revolves around that or a guy who built Stonehenge in his backyard because he’s tired of aliens getting the credit, or a guy who has spent his life making sure the Whooping Crane does not become extinct.
When one TV critic asked Rowe if these people are the product of “nature or nurture — are they born this way or do their life experiences give them these obsessive tendencies,” Rowe shot back, “Holy crap! Who are YOU?! Nature or Nurture?!” He preferred to describe his subjects as people who “appear to be in on some sort of joke that the rest of us aren’t…people who appear to be happier than you would have imagined… and smarter than you would have given them credit for.” He then began to talk of Charles Kuralt, George Plimpton, and Studs Terkel, and the “conspicuously absent..two ears, one mouth” school of TV journalism.
At its April Upfront presentation to advertisers, CNN detailed plans to bring back Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe to series TV in Somebody’s Gotta Do It. At the time, the network said Rowe would pay tribute to innovators, do-gooders, entrepreneurs, collectors, and fanatics. The network said the show would be about passion, purpose, and occasionally, hobbies that get a little out of hand.