Over the course of his long television career, Mike Rowe has hosted several shows that highlight the value of hard work. Shows like Dirty Jobs and How America Works are incredibly popular among fans. For a few years, he did something a little different. Starting in 2017, Rowe hosted Returning the Favor.
On that show, he wasn’t so much highlighting hard work as he was celebrating good works. Each week Rowe and his crew would highlight someone who was giving back to their community in a big way. At the end of every episode, Rowe would surprise the do-gooders with something that would help them keep up the good work. The show aired for four seasons on Facebook Watch. Sadly, Facebook canceled the show back in January.
Yesterday, Mike Rowe posted a preview of his latest podcast episode “It’s Not the Itching, It’s the Chafing” on Instagram. In the episode, he reunites with Sarah Yourgrau, who produced several episodes of Returning the Favor. During the episode, Rowe and Yourgrau look back on the work they did on the show.
“If you’re one of the two million fans of Returning the Favor wondering why I haven’t discussed the show since it was canceled several months ago, this is a conversation you’ll want to hear,” Mike Rowe wrote in the caption. He goes on to say that Sarah Yourgrau is a “Ray of frickin’ sunshine,” and calls her a delight to talk to. Additionally, Rowe said that the producer, “Loved RTF as much as I did – maybe more.”
Mike Rowe on Returning the Favor
Before getting into the conversation about Returning the Favor, Mike Rowe gives his listeners a little disclaimer. He warns that he and Sarah might sound “pissed off about Facebook’s decision” to cancel the show. However, he assures everyone that they’re not mad. Just confused. Months after the show ended fans ask Rowe if it’s coming back and why it got canceled every day. He doesn’t have a solid answer for either of those questions.
Mike Rowe highlighted why losing Returning the Favor was so upsetting. Speaking to Yourgrau, he said, “You and I on camera had a really great vibe because you are unapologetically and aggressively optimistic and I am older than I’ve ever been, somewhat bitter, broken. And, between the two of us, I think the viewer got a pretty honest sense that two people who really liked each other were out in the world trying to find people that you wish you had for neighbors.”
That, Mike Rowe said, is what made Returning the Favor so special. “Our little show wasn’t really a show at all. It was a mission with cameras following us around.”