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  • It's wow gold all a blur for Mike Rowe. He set out to make a living for himself on the fringes of TV a local home show hosting gig here, a voice over there with at least six months off each year. area househunters, the host of Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" is a certified cable superstar beloved by an adoring public that either wants to be him or be with him.

    Fans crowd Discovery channel message boards to talk about the guy, MySpace abounds with dozens of Rowe related pages: "Mike Rowe for President" and "Hot 4 Mike Rowe" among them. And one only need to a quick Google search to find legions of blog enabled fans professing an often scary devotion for the guy.

    Is it Rowe's boyish good looks, his raw machismo, his charm or his ability to make the mundane seem like the coolest thing going that keeps us coming back? What is it about this guy? In an attempt to find out more, I talked to Rowe last Friday about Shark Week (July 27 Aug. 2), the inspiration for "Dirty Jobs," his new appreciation for hard work and his campaign to rehab the working man (and woman's) image and, finally, where he comes down on the flat front vs. pleated debate.

    Liz Kelly: My readers have been clamoring for me to interview you for a while, so many of the questions today are coming directly from them.

    Mike Rowe: I love it that they "clamor." You know, it's a good word and should be used more.

    Liz: I'm guessing that you're in the midst of getting ready for Shark Week?

    Mike: Well, Shark Week for my purposes is over. A couple of the big shows on the network each did an hour this year. A few years ago we did three hours, but this year we're just doing one. So that's a long way of saying I shot all I'm going to shoot for it a month ago, up near Greenland of all places.

    Mike: Yeah. Me slowly freezing to death. It's funny. I hate to do anything twice, which is why I like "Dirty Jobs" so much. Every day is kind of different. And when Shark Week came around this year they said it'd be great if I could go back to Australia or South Africa, but I felt like it's always the Great Whites and the Tigers and the Hammerheads that get all the press and I thought it might be fun in the same way that "Dirty Jobs" celebrates anonymous, unknown people if we went after an anonymous, unknown shark.

    So, we did some research and found out that the Greenland Shark is this big, slow moving creature that is just now starting to be studied. Nobody knows much about them except that they live under all the ice of the Arctic ocean. So, rather than the sun and the sand and the fun, we somehow got to a little town about 10 miles this side of the Arctic circle and met some local Inuit people and scientists and started digging holes in ice and looking for Greenland shark. It was 25 below zero and an amazing little adventure.

    Read the rest of the interview after the jump.

    Liz: Well, that sounds like fun.

    Mike: Very cool, except somebody cut the line and we ended up having to spend a night on the ice. I don't even know how cold it got. It was almost two months ago and I'm still not entirely thawed out.

    Liz: You mentioned that "Dirty Jobs" is a good fit because you like to do something different every day. Is that brilliance of mind or ADD?

    Mike: A little of both and some serendipity. I've been in the TV business for a long time and I didn't get into it because I was motivated by the same levels of money and fame as a lot of people. I got into it because it let me have six, seven months off a year. It was a fun way to work and still have a life. I was a perpetual freelancer and I pitched "Dirty Jobs" to Discovery because I was trying to get them to hire me as their specials guy the guy they send to Everest, to the Titanic, to Egypt, whatever. And to help launch it they wanted three hours of something specific and different from me.

    So I pitched them this idea called "Somebody's Gotta Do It" that I'd actually been doing for a couple of months up in San Diego San Francisco for CBS. And "Somebody's Gotta Do It" was a tribute to my father and grandfather mainly my grandfather, who was one of those guys who was born hardwired to do any mechanical thing. He built the house I was born in without a blueprint. I was just in awe of the guy he built my first car, stone mason, steamfitter, architect, brick layer.

    He just knew how to do it. He lived next to us and all my life I grew up with he and my dad doing that stuff. And the sad truth is I didn't get the gene. I'm not that guy. I want to be and I can fake it, but I'm not authentically that. So, I ran into entertainment to escape all of that. When I made the deal with Discovery, this was a throwaway, just three shows to launch this other larger deal. And I really did it just to shut my dad up for a while. He'd been making fun of my career for 15 years and I thought, "OK dad, here's a look at some of the jobs you used to do. Now we can all drink a beer and have a big group hug and that'll be that."

    Then everybody watched and started writing in with stories about their grandfather and dad and their mom and I started to really look at the show thematically and realized there's a lot going on with the country right now and people. The way we looked at certain jobs had really changed over the years. And I thought it might be fun, if not good for my character, just to put my head down for a few years. So that's what I've been doing. area.

    That show was called "Your New Home" and was something I did in the early '90s really just to pay the rent and is a good example of the kinds of jobs I used to do. And it was beautiful. I could do a year's worth in two weeks. I'd come in for a couple of weeks, then maybe go to another market and do something similar, then do a talk show with Dick Clark or Joan Rivers, narrate something that was all I did for the year.

    That thing [Your New Home] ended up staying on the air for 15 years with me in it and the last 12 were just mainly out of loyalty because the people who did it were friends and I didn't want to leave them in the lurch.

    Liz: Twelve years? That's really big of you.

    Mike: Well, you know what, I'm a giver, Liz. And for two weeks at a time I can hold my nose and get through anything.

    Liz: Okay, so here's a question: You're a superstar now because of your work on Discovery in fact some of my readers ask me if you're Discovery's only employee but, it really got me to thinking: Is Hollywood beating down your door? Is acting in your future? A book in the works? What's going on?

    Mike: Look, people know me as a fairly light hearted, fun loving guy and I am. But, the last couple of years have really been very instructive for me because like I said I was never properly seduced by Hollywood because even though I lived there for a while I was never looking for a hit. I was never even looking for a show. But I would always do a lot of pilots and sniffed around.

    But to answer your question, yeah. I've had meetings with every network. They've all called and to be polite I've talked to them. There are some book deals, sure. There's speaking. I go around the country a lot and talk to Fortune 500 companies about how work has changed and how we've made it the enemy and what that has done to us. Some fairly heavy themes. But I also tell stories about exploding toilets and artificial vaginas and misadventures and animal husbandry and all that.

    So I guess the answer to that is sure, I guess I've passed on some opportunities that a few years ago I would have slobbered all over. But the truth is I absolutely love this job and I wish I didn't have to do so many, but this is exactly what I ordered and I'm happy living on the edges of all that.

    Liz: Anything you want to share that we might be surprised to hear you'd passed on?

    Mike: Well, you know what, out of respect to the guys who didn't pass.

    I can tell you this: Every major talk show syndicator, every game show that's on the air now, every reality show. I'm really grateful to be able to work on a show that for better or worse portrays me exactly as I am. And I really do mean that "for better or worse." I don't think I'm all that, but I can't imagine having an identity that's basically false and having a show attach to you and having to spend your life perpetuating that fiction. That's really nothing I would ever want. In a lot of ways it's the best of both worlds for me because I have some notoriety, I have a little bit of influence here and there, but still enough anonymity to have a life.

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