Multichannel News has a cover story profile on Craig Piligian, who owns the production company that has brought a lot of reality/unscripted programming to a variety of cable outlets, including Dirty Jobs and American Chopper:
Piligian harbors a unique talent for taking the mundane stories of everyday people and turning them into dramatic, must-see TV. In 2001, he saw the inherent drama in a family-run, New York-based custom motorcycle workshop and decided to create a reality show based on their experiences. American Chopper, which revolved around Paul Teutul Sr. and his son “Junior,” proved to be a major hit initially for Discovery Channel, and now for TLC.
In 2005, Piligian plucked a relatively unknown personality named Mike Rowe to star in a TV series that examines some of the most thankless and disgusting jobs in the country. Four years later, Dirty Jobs is one of Discovery Channel's most successful shows, averaging 1.3 million viewers.
It's an interesting article in general, but I probably am linking to it mostly because Mike Rowe is Bill's neighbor.