By Ken Bastida

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — In the midst of celebrating our 70th anniversary, it seemed only fitting that KPIX 5 reconnect with one of the station’s most popular personalities from its past.

His name is Mike Rowe and his credentials are plentiful. Over the course of his long career, Rowe has worked as an actor, a television host, a producer, a writer and a narrator.

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The popular personality has been seen everywhere from broadcast television with his hit shows “Dirty Jobs” and “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” to the Internet. Rowe currently has a new web series called “Returning the Favor,” which can be seen on Facebook.

In the show, Rowe travels around the country to seek out individuals who are making a difference in their community. He also has a podcast called “The Way I Heard It,” which he describes as a “series of short mysteries for the curious mind with a short attention span.”

The Baltimore native may be most famous for his hit show called “Dirty Jobs.” It ran for eight seasons on the Discovery Channel. The series showed Mike doing strange, disgusting, messy and often difficult jobs alongside a regular employee. There was a lot of stepping into or handling of gross unknown and known substances

“‘Dirty Jobs.’ That was the ultimate immersed show,” laughed Rowe.

But we wanted to talk to Mike Rowe is about to come clean about his past with KPIX 5.

“It never would have happened without ‘Evening,'” remarked the talented host.

For those who might not remember, “Evening” refers to “Evening Magazine,” a popular news and entertainment show that debuted on August 9, 1976, on KPIX in San Francisco  The award-winning series was the first non-prime time series to be shot entirely on videotape.

The original hosts were Jan Yanehiro and Steve Fox.  Different hosts came and went. But then, in 2001, Mike Rowe started working at KPIX, as the new co-host for “Evening Magazine,” working with fellow co-host Malou Nubla.

KPIX News just found a treasure trove of bloopers and outtakes of the duo that are hilarious.

For Rowe, it was improvisation at its best.

“I never started a sentence that I knew how I was going to finish it,” he laughed.

While at KPIX, Rowe began to do a segment called “Somebody’s Gotta Do It.”

Producer James Reid told KPIX some details regarding its origins. He and Rowe hosted a segment at a Berkeley recycling center. While they were taping, Rowe started feeding off the one-liners of the young kid that he was interviewing and uttering some funny tongue-in-cheek responses himself that made everyone laugh.

A week later, Reid was at the San Francisco Zoo and noticed a young guy driving around in a big dump truck, picking up animal dung. A light bulb went off in Reid’s head. He approached Rowe and told him the next segment was on the “poo truck driver,”  During the shoot, Rowe once again came up with hilarious commentary.

In the edit room, more magic emerged. Suffice it to say, the rest is history. Reid describes the segments as “Charles Kuralt meets scatology with a big nod to the local unsung heroes” who do certain jobs that few of us would ever want to do.

The “Evening Magazine” segments included animal control officers who picked up road kill, a technician who serviced porta-potties, the workers at Fisherman’s Wharf who gut and clean fish and — most infamously — the artificial cow inseminator.

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“I’ll never forget the first time that segment went on the air,” laughed Rowe. The big boss at KPIX — the station’s General Manager — called the host into his office. Rowe remembered as how the awkward encounter began.

“Hey Mike, uh…yeah,” Rowe said, imitating the GM with a laugh. “‘I got a lot of email from people saying it’s difficult to eat our meatloaf with this knucklehead crawling thru the sewers.'”

But the ratings were through the roof.

As Mike Rowe did “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,”  his co-shot had her own special segment known as “Outdo Malou,” where she did challenging occupations. Both segments were well-received and are still fun to watch to this day.

A few years later, Rowe would move on, leaving “Evening Magazine” and pitching a spinoff to the Discovery Channel. That spinoff was “Dirty Jobs.”

While “Dirty Jobs” focused a lot on the dirt, slime, sludge, dust, soot, smut, muck and overall filth, these days Rowe is back to focusing on those who do the labor. You might say he has made blue-collar work cool.

He has a show on TBN called “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” and — perhaps more importantly — he started a public charity,  The mikeroweWORKS Foundation rewards people who wanted to get trained for skilled jobs, in part by giving scholarships.

To date, the Foundation has been instrumental in granting more than $3 million in scholarships for trade schools across the country.

As for his co-host Malou?  She founded her own production company called Malou Nubla Productions.


Returning the Favor:

The Way I Heard It:

Dirty Jobs:

Malou Nubla:

mikeroweWORKS Foundation:

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Somebody’s Gotta Do It: