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It never fails.

Whenever Dirty Jobs goes off the air for a few months, people start to wonder if the show has been canceled. Rumors begin to swirl, and questions about the show’s future fill my inbox. Over the years it’s been my pleasure to assure anxious fans that Dirty Jobs is coming back for another season. And indeed, we always have. Alas, this year, I’m afraid I cannot dispel the rumors. A few weeks ago, I was officially informed that Dirty Jobs had entered into a new phase. One I like to call, “permanent hiatus.” Or in the more popular industry vernacular, canceled.

My first instinct was to immediately pass the news on to you, but frankly, it’s taken me a few weeks to digest. Dirty Jobs is a very personal show, and it’s difficult for me to imagine a future that does not involve exploding toilets, venomous snakes, misadventures in animal husbandry, and feces from every species. Nevertheless, the future is here, and while it does not appear to contain any more Dirty Jobs, it will almost certainly include another Thanksgiving. So in the spirit of the holiday, I’d like to thank those people most responsible for reinvigorating my erstwhile career, and launching the most honest show in the history of reality TV.

First, to John Hendricks, David Zaslav, and everyone at Discovery. In 1993, with nothing on my resume but an inglorious pink slip from The QVC Cable Shopping Channel, Discovery hired me to host Romantic Escapes. For nearly a year I traveled around the world with an attractive co-host, drinking wine, floating around in hot air balloons, and creating the illusion of romance in 5-start resorts. With Discovery’s continued support, I would eventually work my way up to the sewer, where I’ve happily splashed about for the last eight years. David Z – your support has been invaluable, and the many opportunities that sprung from Dirty Jobs have positively changed my life. Thank you. John H – you are one of the greatest entrepreneurs in modern history. Thanks to your vision, I have Forrest Gumped my way into over 180 countries, and inflicted Dirty Jobs onto a sizeable hunk of unsuspecting humanity. I’m very grateful for that. To you and everyone at Discovery – as well as my good friends who are no longer there – thanks very much.

Second, to Craig Piligian, Eddie Barbini, Ed Rohwedder, and everyone at Pilgrim Films. Back in 2001, I was producing a modest little segment for the CBS affiliate in San Francisco called Somebody’s Gotta Do It. I thought it deserved a bigger audience, but sadly, no one else agreed. In those days, networks were hesitant to spend money on reality shows that didn’t feature cash prizes, convicts, or pets that attacked their owners. But after two years of rejection, Craig P. watched an episode of Somebody’s Gotta Do It, and told me he could sell it. Craig can sell ice to Eskimos, or in this case, a slightly disturbing video of yours truly collecting semen from a friendly bull and artificially inseminating a nearby cow. I don’t know how he did it, but Discovery ordered a pilot and changed the name to Dirty Jobs. The rest is history. Of course, Craig didn’t just sell a show – he sold a genre. Today, over two-dozen separate programs have evolved from Dirty Jobs. Maybe more. The credit for that, (as well as the blame!) belongs to Craig. Thanks Craig, very much.

Third, to my crew. Dave Barsky, Doug Glover, Troy Paff, Chris Jones, Chris Whiteneck, Adam Bradley, Dan Eggiman, Ryan Walsh, Amber McClarin, Marlen Schlawin and half a dozen other masochists who picked up the slack over the years. Making Dirty Jobs was never an actual war, but there were days – many days – that felt a lot like combat. Whether we were dangling from bridges, crawling through mines, swimming with sharks, castrating sheep, transplanting giant cacti, or slowly freezing to death on the Arctic Ocean, we usually made it out in one piece, and we always got what we needed. It’s easy to forget – what with all the laughing and bleeding and vomiting and eighth grade shenanigans – just how excellent each and every one of you is at what you do. Well, I won’t forget. I promise. I’ll remember you always as a band of brothers, and do what I can to one day put the band back together. For now, there’s nothing else to say but thanks. You’re the best.

Fourth, to the hundreds of trusting Americans who invited us into their homes and workplaces – you have always been the true stars of Dirty Jobs. For eight years, you welcomed a reality TV crew into your lives when a first year law student would have advised you bolt the door. (“What’s that? A show called Dirty Jobs wants to highlight our business? They want to shoot in our kitchen? Sure!”) That was an extraordinary act of faith, and I am forever humbled by it. From pig farmers to bridge painters, roughnecks to gandy dancers, your hospitality was exceeded only by your candor and good humor. According to the credits, I am the Host of Dirty Jobs, but really, it’s been you guys all along. I’m just the guest, and you have made me feel welcome on 300 different occasions in all 50 states. Dirty Jobs was never intended to become a comprehensive collection of Americans who comprise the finest work ethic on Planet Earth. But thanks to you, it became exactly that. I’m honored to have worked with each and every one of you. Thank you all so much.

Fifth, to the fans. Anyone who’s ever had any good fortune in this fickle business knows who really calls the shots – it’s not the networks or the production companies or the on-air personalities – it’s the people who watch. And the people who watched Dirty Jobs turned out to be far more curious than your average channel surfer.
Beyond your sophisticated taste in cable programming, you brought an unprecedented loyalty to a business known for fostering the exact opposite. In the early days, when I was spending 300 nights a year in Motel 6’s and Super 8’s, you guys became my lifeline. Far from home, smelly, and desperate for human contact, we made a genuine connection in virtual space. The questions you posed were not only fun to answer, they were therapeutic. Literally, thousands of posts and tens of thousands of words flew back and forth between us. In truth, it was really you guys who programmed the show. Long after I ran out of ideas for more jobs, it was your suggestions that kept us on the air, and our ongoing dialogue made me realize that Dirty Jobs – in spite of it’s aggressive simplicity – was endowed with some rather large and universal themes.

When our economy crapped the bed in 2008, Dirty Jobs became weirdly relevant in ways that no one anticipated, especially me. Suddenly, I found myself answering questions about jobs and manufacturing, infrastructure and the skills gap, and a few other topics that I knew little about. But it was you that really took this show to the next level. Thanks to your research and support, we were able to build and launch an online Trade Resource Center, and today, mikeroweWORKS.com continues to make a noisy and compelling case for skilled labor. I think that’s pretty cool. In fact, The mikeroweWORKS Foundation has raised over a million dollars for trade school scholarships and tool stipends and has just announced a partnership with Scholarship America and funded a $250,000 educational grant to provide scholarships for those looking to finish their education in a skilled trade. That’s something you should all be proud of. I know I am, and I know for a fact that it wouldn’t have happened without you. And I’m not just saying that because you’re the boss. So thank you all very, very much.

Finally, I’d like to thank my granddad. Carl Knobel was an electrician by trade, but so much more. He was a role model to me, my brothers, my cousins, my uncles, my Dad, and everyone else who knew him. Like so many of his generation, he worked more than he played, listened more than he spoke, and quietly went about the business of making civilized life possible for the rest of us. Dirty Jobs was inspired by him, and dedicated to millions of other Americans cut from the same cloth – men and women blessed with raw skill, the discipline to hone it, the diligence to apply it, and the willingness to wake up clean and come home dirty. Those attributes may go out of style from time to time, but they will never vanish. They mustn’t. Thanks Pop, very much.

I’m thinking of an old joke about an auctioneer who was trying to get top dollar for George Washington’s famous hatchet. “A true original, ladies and gentlemen. The very one he used to cut down the cherry tree! The handle has only been replaced three times, and the head just twice!!”

I can’t say that Dirty Jobs never jumped the shark, (since I literally leaped over one in Season 2) but I’m proud to say it’s still the same hatchet. The last episode looked pretty much like the first. We didn’t become something we weren’t. We never shared the sewer with Paris Hilton, and we never invited you to “tune in next week for a very special Dirty Jobs.” We stuck to the mission statement. We stayed small. We worked hard. And we had a hell of a good time. It was as they say, a very good run.

As for me, good things are in the works. Not as dirty perhaps, but exciting nevertheless. I’m looking forward to the future, and feeling grateful for the past. As for the present, I’m going to eat the lions share of a large turkey waiting for me in the next room, drink some Champagne, catch up with family, watch the football game, and sleep till Christmas.

Thanks again, and Happy Thanksgiving.
Mike

The Huffington Post

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222 Comments

    1. tell them that i said put it back on air now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      elijah | 01/27/14 | 1:40 pm
    2. Mike,
      I watched youre show from the moment it came out and just now when i started to wonder when a new season would air, i read this painfull news.
      Not only did you bring respect to hard working man and women but you showed no matter how crappy the job there is always someone to do it with a smile.
      I loved the straight to point presentation, the arguments with youre crew and the people behind the jobs.
      Im truley going to mis the show here in Holland and hope to see you back on air some day.

      Thank you fore the many years and to you and the crew al the best of luck.

      Mark | 11/28/13 | 9:10 am
    3. All I can say is thank goodness for Netflix and DJ reruns!! :D DJ continues to bring respect to hard working people and I think, changed peoples perspective, changed their thinking. Not a minor task. Well done.

      Trina | 07/31/13 | 11:44 am
    4. Dear Mike,

      As a viewer on Netflix (my wife and I have not had cable TV in the 13 years we’ve been married)I’m behind the times, but that does not make me any less of a fan or any less sorry to see the show go. I feel like I’m losing a friend (or immature brothers, namely you and Dave). Some people have comfort foods–I had a comfort show, so this news is heartbreaking.

      Since I’ve been watching, I’ve not once been dissapointed by the show or the crew! In fact, I don’t ever get tired of the episodes! The excitement will live on because the reruns will be aired frequently at my house. I always secretly dreamed of being part of the show in some aspect and regret to leave that dream behind! I guess all good/dirty things must come to an end, though.

      If you ever read this, God bless you in your mission to bring thanks (and financial aid) to the thankless. As my role model, your success gives me hope that I may one day “make it”! I’ll be watching for your next venture and wish you all the best.

      Daniel Sparks

      Daniel Sparks | 06/20/13 | 6:11 am
    5. OMG – they killed “dirty jobs” !

      Sad to hear the show is over. It was always good to see that there are some people out there that are really working with their hands – and getting dirty.
      Looking at modern economy you are tempted to think that money works alone – and increases without limits.
      Now we know better, and this brings up the focus again on those guys who are making all this modern life possible, a working class hommage, even if it’s not intended so in the first place.

      It was a very fine and funny time, can’t wait to see your next project.
      Best wishes to you, Mike.
      Good luck, and good night …

      Hartz4 | 04/28/13 | 12:08 pm
    6. I had been out of the country for a while and just learned of the show’s cancellation. I know these things happen and it always sucks for the fans and the cast (does the name Firefly ring a bell?) but I was particularly disappointed by this announcement. I kind of grew into my twenties watching Dirty Jobs, and I found it one of the most refreshing, entertaining, educational, and wholesome shows on TV, showing us just how cool real life can be without having to dramatize it with overblown cliffhangers and intense music. The era of Dirty Jobs, Mythbusters, and Deadliest Catch (before it became puffed up and overdramatized) was and always will be one of DC’s finest, in my opinion.

      Even though it’s over now, I want to thank you, Mike and the rest of the crew, for keeping Dirty Jobs real and “pure” (for lack of a better word, especially considering the quality of the stuff that lined the bottom of your shoes – and other things – by the end of every episode) for such a long time. Thanks for teaching me about the aspects of life we sometimes forget about, and the existence of the hard-working people who operate behind the scenes. And for making me laugh harder than I’ve ever laughed watching the Discovery Channel.

      Mike, you are one talented dude. I hope I get to keep seeing you on TV in more than just Ford commercials.

      Rebecca | 04/02/13 | 11:58 am
    7. So sad, perhaps when Discovery realizes how stupid Amish Mafia is, they will put Dirty Jobs back on the air. Mike – you are one of the best hosts, and you did a great job as the Dirty Job man. I would love to see you in a new series, especially one that cancels stupid shows like the Amish Mafia.

      Stefan | 03/05/13 | 4:50 pm
    8. Oh how sad! I just saw this post – My husband and I started off watching dirty jobs and have introduced each of our kids to it as they became old enough to focus on the TV from across a room.
      We regularly watch reruns as a family in the evenings as it is a fun, family friendly show. Our little girl loves all of the animal episodes, in particular the one where the baby cows are born.
      Of course, my oldest son and husband love the snakes at Lake Michigan – Sorry Mike – they seem to find you being bitten quite amusing. Our youngest loves anything as long as you are driving something big! And one of my husband’s favorite shirts is his Mike Rowe “original dirt shirt”.
      We will miss watching new episodes, at least we can continue to watch old episodes and we will keep an eye out to see what you have planned next.
      Thanks for all the laughs and all of the great information – we laughed, we learned, we sympathized, and we loved it all!
      Michelle

      Michelle Crooker | 03/04/13 | 9:14 pm
    9. I started watching your show after my grandpa died. I always said that he would have loved watching you, and laughed himself silly. He sprayed chicken coops, worked farms, and did construction his whole life. My dad worked a rock quarry and did construction. He watched your show with me while he was alive, and we’d have many an evening laughing and being “grossed out” at the same time. Your show has been there for me during the toughest times of my life as well as some of the happiest. I looked forward to your show every year, mostly because you reminded me of the men in my life that I had lost. They all had dirty jobs. To see your show go is heartbreaking. I will hope that it’s picked up by another network smart enough to realize the gold they have with you and Dirty Jobs. And if not, then I want to say thank you for bringing this to us and for years of wading into the filth. I hope for good things for you in your future.

      Katrinna Pint | 02/28/13 | 12:30 am
    10. We’ll miss you Mike. My family loved watching your show, and the success of 8 seasons is owed to you and the men and women who work at those jobs day in and day out. Here’s hoping you find a new home; one that can appreciate you and your crew for what you guys are: an inspiration, a source of education, and good clean– er, well, most of the time– fun.

      Sarah | 02/27/13 | 3:59 pm