Mike Rowe Created ‘Six Degrees’ Show to Honor His Late Father

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)

Mike Rowe described his new show as a “Forrest Gumpian hot mess” that tries to answer history’s dumbest questions. And he did it all for his dad.

The former Dirty Jobs host explained to NewsNation Now that Six Degrees with Mike Rowe is his attempt to show how history is connected in ways you don’t expect. And it’s a way to honor his dad, who was a history teacher and who instilled a deep love of the subject in his sons.

“In the same way that Dirty Jobs was a tribute to my grandfather — a guy who could build a house without a blueprint, Six Degrees is a tribute to my dad, a history teacher,” Mike Rowe said. “I wanted to try to do a history show for people who wouldn’t normally watch history shows.

“And so I pitched this idea based on the parlor game ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,’ and argued that I could connect any two points no matter how disparate if you give me a little bit of money and enough time. So each episode starts with a truly stupid question like ‘Can a horseshoe find your soulmate?’ or ‘Can a sheep pay your taxes?’ or ‘Can a mousetrap cure your hangover?’ and I get an hour to prove that the answer to those questions is always yes. So, it’s kind of a Forrest Gumpian hot mess through our past.”

Six Degrees of Mike Rowe finished its first season on Discovery+ earlier this year. Though they are awaiting word on a second season.

The show started out as a simple idea. But it spiraled into a massive production the more time and money producers gave him, he said.

“There’s animation, there’s there’s dubious reenactments, there’s cheap costumes, wigs that don’t fit,” he joked. The show truly has everything.

Mike Rowe: Misconceptions About ‘Trade’ Jobs Keeps Kids Away

Mike Rowe wants kids to have better information when it comes to choosing a career. For instance, he believes that misconceptions about skilled labor jobs and trade schools keep many kids from signing up. Many, he said, go to four-year colleges not knowing what they want to do and leave without a degree and a mountain of student loan debt.

To help clear up some of those misconceptions, he recently posted a photo that includes the average salaries of the so-called “dirty jobs.” And they’re higher than most would expect.

Mike Rowe said he isn’t against four-year colleges. He has a degree from Towson University in communication studies. Nor is money the only determining factor in choosing a career. He just wants more kids to know the realities of these positions.

“Of course not. Job satisfaction is never about any one thing. But when the average American thinks welders and plumbers and heavy equipment mechanics barely scrape by, somebody has to correct that misperception,” he said, responding to a critic. “But to your point, yes – low wages are just one of many misperceptions that keep kids from exploring a career in the trades.”