'Dirty Jobs' host Mike Rowe stays out of the sewer showing gritty jobs for 'How America Works'

·3 min read

"Dirty Jobs" star Mike Rowe continues to show the nitty-gritty of the nation's workforce with "How America Works."

But this time, he's letting others do the dirty work.

Rowe, 59, narrates the weekly Fox Business Network series (premiering Monday, 8 p.m. EDT/PDT) that turns the spotlight on the unseen people behind 10 of the country's vital industries, from electricity creation at the Hoover Dam, to deep-sea fisheries off Alaska, and even the Milwaukee sewer system.

"We sent the cameras in," Rowe says. "Our hope is to give America an honest look at really what it's like maintaining the Hoover Dam turbines or running the most technically adapted fish boat in the world. It's a bit like 'Dirty Jobs,' but without the host."

Rowe lends his vocals as a former opera singer to narrate the series, staying unseen (and spotless) behind the scenes. It's a far cry from Rowe's famed deadpan routine of stepping into the most challenging (and disgusting) working environments that started with Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" in 2003 and morphed into CNN's "Somebody's Gotta Do It" in 2014.

"I don't want to create the impression that I got lazy," says Rowe, who says he jumped aboard the on-brand new series to highlight often-overlooked workers. "We're telling the same kinds of stories, celebrating the same kinds of jobs and hopefully making a similarly persuasive case for why these jobs are truly essential."

While he's not personally dealing with the dirty-job mayhem, there are hazards.

"On this show, I’ve spilled coffee all over my favorite jeans while narrating. Twice," Rowe jokes. "Coffee stains are hard to get out."

A cameraman shoots oil workers in "How America Works."
A cameraman shoots oil workers in "How America Works."

In successive weeks, "How America Works" introduces the people behind the waste removal of Dothan, Alabama; the oil fields of Warren, Pennsylvania; the steel mills of Midlothian, Texas; and the lumber industry of Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, which Rowe calls the "most dangerous jobs in America."

"You could call it 'A Thousand Ways To Die' and have a whole series on (lumber). There's so many things to go wrong, all in the deep woods," Rowe says. "We profile a guy who walks deep into the Alaskan forests to get his order. He's got to drop 200 tons of lumber a day."

Most cities serve as logical centers to be explored in "How America Works," such as a gander at the gambling and entertainment industry of Las Vegas. Other sites, such as Milwaukee's sewer scrutiny, are more random, requiring a wry Rowe explanation.

"On a personal note, there is something special about Milwaukee sewage as a result of all the cheese intake," Rowe muses. "I blame the college kids of Madison as well. Their diets are a nightmare. The Madison sewers are unspeakable, a whole other level."

That episode will be a trip down olfactory memory lane for Rowe, whose most infamous "Dirty Jobs" forays involved sewer systems and septic-tank cleaning. The new show, however, will not wallow in the ick factor.

"But there are going to be rats. There's going to be roaches. You can't go in a sewer without having all creatures great and small assault you," Rowe says. "But there is nothing on this show as gross as the reality of crawling through a river of crap. I checked that box."

Rowe will step out with a new season of "Dirty Jobs," midway through taping, adding to the 300-plus jobs he's highlighted to date.

"We shot six episodes just to put my toe back in the filthy end of the pool," he says.

The filming will continue in October. For Rowe, there remain unheralded, often brutal tasks that need be demonstrated, such as working with a Florida construction crew to shape reinforcing bars in concrete.

"I had never done the toughest construction job, working with the rod busters. I spent a day in Florida with those guys. They very nearly killed me," Rowe says. "It was great."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe reveals 'How America Works' for Fox Business

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