Mike Rowe’s parents worry. But they have good reason. On any given week they could watch their son, the host of CNN’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It, ride a live bull, take part in a rescue simulation in a place called “Disaster City’ or test out Naval training drills.
“My parents generally call me after every episode to give me critique,” said Rowe in an interview with B&C. “My mother will ask me if everything’s ok— [it] usually is.”
Just because Rowe is standing on two feet doesn’t mean he hasn’t been put through his fair share of scares during filming for his show, which kicks off its sophomore season on Thursday.
“My job on the show is to be a fish out of water,” said Rowe. “For the most part I maintain a steady diet of surprise.”
Those surprises are built into the series, which focuses on the passion projects of individuals across the country and questioning what’s a “good job” in 2015. Throughout this upcoming season, Rowe will bounce between making ice sculptures with a husband-wife team, spending a day at the rodeo and shooting with a compound bow.
The former Dirty Jobs frontman thinks the snapshot formula works because “it’s kind of an ADD world now. People don’t have a ton of time, so they want to spend 10 or 15 minutes with somebody they like and move onto the next one.”
To find the people who eventually end up on a Somebody’s segment, Rowe often times turns to social media. “A lot of the ideas and introductions come through Facebook on my personal fan page,” explains Rowe. Between those intros and pitches from people on the street, “Every third or fourth [idea] is pretty good.”
Facebook is where he found a more laid-back group for a segment this season, bike polo players. The athletes set up their game on a tennis court “and it’s just like polo except they’re not on horses — they’re guys on bikes with mallets,” said Rowe.
Whether the TV veteran is witnessing a game of bike polo or running from a bull — both of which he experienced while filming this season — Somebody’s Gotta Do It has a strict no second takes policy, so viewers see events as Rowe did.
That policy may be a remnant of his years as a host on live home shopping network QVC, which Rowe called “amazingly weird and amazingly beneficial.” He said of his tenure, from 1989 until 1992, “I probably learned everything I needed to know about TV after three years of selling crap in the middle of the night.”