Mike Rowe is a familiar face to viewers all across the television universe.
The multi-TV show host and narrator extraordinaire has yet another production in the works. His new series, “The Story Behind the Story,” is set to debut this May on TBN.
Storytelling will be the means with which some tried-and-true values will be presented to a new generation, and perhaps re-instilled in those of us who may have forgotten how important they are in the cultivation of a productive and caring society.
When Mike was asked recently about the most effective way of teaching folks about the work ethic and broadening people’s understanding of the dignity and integrity that potentially accompany hard work, his answer was a straightforward one. Tell the story.
“I don’t think there’s one specific answer or playbook,” he said. “But part of the answer has to be storytelling. We have to do a better job of magnifying people who have prospered or found a measure of happiness by doing the very things that we want to celebrate.”
Stories have expanded the consciousness of human beings since time began, due to their inherent capacity to reach within us.
Mike has mastered the art of storytelling, a unique gift that many desire but few possess. He uses the power of parables to establish a set of circumstances and then proceeds to confront in a non-threatening way the ethical challenges that are hidden within.
“Nobody wants a sermon and nobody wants a lecture and nobody wants to be scolded,” he said. “And I certainly don’t want to do any of those things, either. So it’s a tricky balance.”
Mike’s experience as an actor, author, television host, and narrator will no doubt serve him well as he launches this latest venture. Best known for his programs “Dirty Jobs,” which airs on the Discovery Channel, and “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” which originally aired on CNN but is currently on TBN, Mike’s TV bona fides can fill volumes.
He hosted “Worst Case Scenarios” for TBS and “The Most” for The History Channel and also held host duties on QVC, the home-shopping network.
In addition, he has been featured in a spate of television commercials, including ones produced for Ford, Caterpillar, and Viva.
He has a truly extensive background as a narrator, having served as the announcer on “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” for several years.
He is also the narrator voice heard on shows that include Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch,” “Shark Week,” “American Chopper,” “American Hot Rod,” “Wild Pacific,” “Silver Rush,” “Ghost Lab,” and “How the Universe Works”; National Geographic Channel’s “Wicked Tuna”; and SYFY Channel’s “Ghost Hunters.”
Over the years he has viewed himself as a booster for blue-collar and white-collar workers alike. The contents of his projects seek to put in a positive light the qualities of diligence and self-initiative.
His motivation seems to spring from his rural upbringing and the powerful influence that his extraordinary grandfather Carl Knobel had upon his life.
“He could build a house without a blueprint,” Mike explained. “He only went to the seventh grade, but he was an inspiration to me. [He] went on to become a skilled tradesman.”
“…‘Dirty Jobs,’ which most people know me from, was a tribute to him,” Mike said.
He shared that finding ways to tell stories about people who have things in common with his granddad “was the impetus for so much of what I’ve wound up doing.”
“Nobody’s more surprised than me to see how that has caught hold,” he said.
His grandpa also built a portion of the Presbyterian church in which Mike was first introduced to his faith. In his family, faith was something that was omnipresent.
“Faith and church for me growing up wasn’t an event — it wasn’t a thing that was introduced to me,” he said. “It was a thing that was just there. It was there like the stable had always been there … there were Lenten dinners on Wednesday nights. I was in the Boy Scouts [at the church]. For me, church and the faith that came with it were as much a part of the community as anything else.”
He had the misfortune of witnessing firsthand how faith-related content is selectively removed from television product.
“When I started making TV, I realized that a lot of the places where I went, people’s faith and people’s church … they occupied the same kind of real estate. But when I saw the finished versions of other shows, those things were always cut out,” he said.
He has a word of advice for those who work in the television industry.
“’Don’t tell the story you want to tell. Tell the story you find.’ And by and large, if you commit to telling the story you find, you are going to find people who have an element of faith in their life.”