Mike Rowe discusses CNN series 'Somebody's Gotta Do It': 'More mission, less poop'

mike-rowe-somebodys-gotta-do-it-gi.jpgHere's how Mike Rowe describes the difference between his new show on CNN, "Somebody's Gotta Do It," and his former show "Dirty Jobs": "More mission, less poop."

By which he means, whereas "Dirty Jobs" was all about "how a thing got done" -- usually involving high levels of dirt and muck -- "Somebody's Gotta Do It" focuses on people who are driven to do what they do, whether that's a job or an avocation.

"I'm not looking for people who are just willing to get dirty and doing what they do for a paycheck," Rowe said Thursday (July 10) at the summer TV critics' press tour. "We're looking for people who wake up every day a little afflicted because the world's not exactly the way they want it to be. They're on a mission.

"'Somebody's Gotta Do It' is about people who simply do what they do because of a weird mix of love, compulsion, obsession, dedication -- whatever it is. Those people have always interested me."

There is some commonality between the two shows, though: The subjects on "Dirty Jobs" and "Somebody's Gotta Do It" both "collectively appear to be in on some sort of joke that the rest of us aren't. ... It's really fun to sit down and talk with people who appear to be happier than you would've imagined, smarter than you gave them credit for and more engaged than you would ever know."

Rowe says he hopes to emulate some of the people he looks up to in broadcasting with the new show, naming Charles Kuralt, George Plimpton and Studs Terkel as influences.

"Those guys found a way to be present and have a conversation and at the same time immerse themselves into a thing," Rowe says. "I think that is conspicuously absent in today's programming landscape. ... If we just listen a little bit more and show up and pay a little bit better attention, we're liable to Forrest Gump our way into some really cool stories."

"Somebody's Gotta Do It" premieres in the fall on CNN.
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