Last year, when Facebook was beginning to seed its newly-launched Watch tab, one of the first shows it announced was Returning The Favor, an inspiring documentary series led by former Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe. A few months later, Facebook greenlit a second season of Returning The Favor, which has since premiered for Watch viewers.
Now, as Returning The Favor rolls along, its creators are looking to inspire fans of the show to help out people in need. Rowe and his team have launched a Facebook group called The Returning The Favor Effect, which aims to turn the show’s premise into a nationwide movement of positivity and goodwill.
In Returning The Favor, which is produced by Hudsun Media and mikeroweWorks, Rowe travels the US in search of hard-working do-gooders who deserve praise for the charitable work they have done in their respective communities. A February 13 episode, for example, spotlights an Idaho man who runs an organization that provides bedding for children who would otherwise have to sleep on the floor.
Viewers inspired by the heartwarming stories in Returning The Favor can connect to their own communities via the Returning The Favor Effect group. On that page’s message board, Facebook users are invited to share stories of do-gooders in their own areas in order to “inspire one another.”
Tubefilter got in touch with Rowe to discuss his partnership with Facebook, the second season of his show, and the corresponding group:
Tubefilter: How’s the relationship with Facebook Watch been?
Mike Rowe: Terrific. I’ve got the freedom we need to make the kind of show we want, and the support to make sure millions of people see it. For a new endeavor with a giant company, the relationship has been incredibly collaborative.
TF: How important to you is the interactive portion of the platform and the launch of this new group?
MR: Extremely important. I don’t look at Returning the Favor as a show; I see it as a very elaborate interactive video post – an antidote to some of the fear and division that’s dominated people’s feeds. We’ve already proven the best way to get people interested in RTF, is to ask them to program each episode. What I think we’re about to learn, is that the best way to keep them interested, is to encourage them to interact with the people we highlight. I think the group will accelerate that process.
TF: How involved will you be in the discussions on there?
MR: With Dirty Jobs, I interacted online everyday with viewers and fans, and the results were extraordinarily impactful. Here, I suspect I’ll chime in often, especially at the outset. But ultimately, the success of the group can’t depend on me. The trick here I think, is to foster a community where people can talk very specifically about the individuals we feature on Returning the Favor, discuss ways to replicate the organizations we highlight in their own communities, and then, return the favor to another bloody do-gooder in their own backyard. The biggest question I get after every episode is, “How can I do what so-and-so is doing in my hometown?” If this group works the way I hope it will, viewers will be interacting directly with the people we feature on the show. And more favors will get returned…
Check out new episodes of Returning The Favor each Tuesday on Facebook.