Deadliest Catch producer Joe McMahon was murdered

April 18, 2024
8 mins read

What is “Deadliest Catch”?

This fascinating reality-TV show filmed in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. depicts the lives of fearless crab fishermen during the annual snow king and Alaskan king crab fishing seasons. The Discovery Channel series has been on air since April 2005, and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with a rich catalogue of over 300 episodes over 18 seasons.

Although the crab fishermen are the stars of the show, the camera crews are undoubtedly the unsung heroes of “Deadliest Catch”, as they also battle against gale-force winds, high waves, and other hostile weather conditions. All parties involved in the filming of the show must also spend months at a time away from their family and loved ones, making for a tense work environment, as well as remote. However, as crab fishing isn’t exactly an attractive job, you can encounter family members such as the Colburn and Hansen brothers working together on many of the fishing vessels.

Alaskan crab fishing is one of the most dangerous professions in the world, making the presence of the US Coast Guard (USCG) and its rescue squads a must. Between 2005 and 2008, three fishing vessels were lost in the show’s first seasons: the Ocean Challenger, the Katmai, the Big Valley. The skilled rescue squads helped saved dozens of lives during that period, despite the tragic loss of the Destination and six of its crew members in 2017.

Mike Rowe and Bill Petrie are the show’s narrators in North America and the UK, as “Deadliest Catch” has no on-camera hosts due to its ultra-risky filming conditions. To make things easier to follow, there is a mock-up radar screen that displays the position of each fishing vessel, and switches from one boat to another.

“After the Catch” is one of many spin-offs in the “Deadliest Catch” franchise. The miniseries, which premiered in 2007 and has received largely positive ratings, is full of behind-the-scenes footage, as all the captains in the main series participate in a roundtable discussion in which they discuss the good and the bad moments of the prior fishing season. The main show has a TV-14 rating and must use pixelization and blurring to block out foul language, bloody injuries, and finger gestures.


Cast Members: Mike Rowe

Over the years, many captains of “Deadliest Catch” and their fishing vessels have come and gone after a couple of seasons. Although the stars of the show are the Colburn and Hansen brothers, other colorful characters such as “Wild” Bill Wichrowski and Johnathan Hillstrand all bring their own unique touch to the series.

Mike Rowe is also an integral part of the “Deadliest Catch” family, as the Maryland native has been narrating the reality series since the first day. Mike was born in March 1962 and raised in Baltimore County; his parents, John and Peggy Rowe, both worked as teachers. At 17 years old, he became an Eagle Scout in Troop 6; his service project for Eagle Scout, which got him interested in the narration world, saw him read to students at the Maryland School for the Blind.

Mike attended the local Kenwood Presbyterian Church with his parents, who are believed to be deeply religious. In 1980, he matriculated from Overlea High School with top grades in singing and theater, and began studying at Essex Community College. The future celebrity graduated from Towson University in 1985, with a degree in communication studies.

Laying down the foundations for a long and fruitful career in both hosting and narration, Mike’s first gig was hosting “Radio Active”, a CD-ROM music trivia game, and working as on-air host for the famous home-shopping network QVC. According to Mike, QVC fired and rehired him three times until he left for good in 1993.

In the 1990s, Mike also hosted an instructional guide for PrimeStar, a now-defunct satellite television service. The 2000s were a good decade with plenty of work for the TV personality; from 2001 to 2004, he hosted the History Channel show “The Most” and “Evening Magazine”. In 2002, he also hosted the TBS show “Worst Case Scenarios”.

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While hosting “Egypt Week Live!” with the Discovery Channel, Mike travelled to the Valley of the Golden Mummies, and explored ancient tombs with the Egyptian archeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass. He also hosted “How Booze Built America” in September 2012 for the same channel. In April 2014, CNN announced that in fall of the same year Mike would host a new original series named “Somebody’s Gotta Do It”; the show’s final season aired in 2018.

Apart from being an excellent host, Mike is a seasoned narrator with dozens of shows under his belt. Some of the series he’s narrated for Discovery Channel include “American Hot Rod”, “Silver Rush”, “How the Universe Works”, and “American Chopper”. In 2006 and 2008, he hosted the channel’s annual “Shark Week”. Previously, he also hosted the special parody show “You Spoof Discovery”.


Mike was originally intended to be an on-screen host for “Deadliest Catch”, and shot footage aboard many of the fishing vessels which was later edited out. However, when made to choose between being an on-screen host for the crab fishing reality series, or “Dirty Jobs”, Mike opted for the latter.

The small screen celebrity’s impressive narrating resume includes “Scavengers Rock”, “Drydock: A Cruise Ship Reborn”, “Mystery Diagnosis”, and “Powertool Drag Racing”; he has also done voiceover work for “The Ultimate Fighter”. For almost three years, he was the announcer on “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer”. Mike’s passion project is his podcast, “The Way I Heard It”.

Mike has also displayed his altruistic side on many occasions, such as with the launch of his mikeroweWORKS Foundation in 2008. The foundation focuses on strengthening infrastructure and tackling the decline in blue collar trades. The foundation’s trade resource center provides forums, resources, and information for those who wish to learn about or pursue a career in the trades. “Trades Hub”, the foundation’s blog for the construction and trades industry, was launched in April 2011.

In September 2010, the presenter and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers launched the “I Make America” campaign which aimed to encourage infrastructure investment and export agreements in order to create jobs in the manufacturing sector. The campaign sought to improve the US’s economy and global competitiveness.

In May 2011, Mike gave a passionate speech before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, about the issue of trade activism. He has also heavily promoted and provided video content for, a recruiting campaign created by The Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute.

At the beginning of President Obama’s first term, Mike offered him help promoting construction and trade jobs, but didn’t receive a reply. He teamed up with GOP candidate Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential election, and went to a campaign event in Ohio with him in September of the same year, where he espoused his ideas about how to help the US create more jobs.


Despite his activism for the creation of blue-collar jobs, Mike also supports white-collar workers, and has stated that he feels alienated from America’s current political system. Despite being a gun owner and supporting the 2nd Amendment, Mike is not a member of the controversial National Rifle Association.

Little is known of Mike’s private life. Before becoming a TV personality, he was a professional singer with the Baltimore Opera. In 2014, he received death threats after doing voiceover work for a Walmart ad – two years later, he was forced to deny rumors about his death. Some of the Maryland native’s accolades include being the first winner of the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Reality Show Host. In June 2012, he was awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award; five years later, he became an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Barbershop Harmony Society. His latest award was in the Outstanding Host for a Daytime Program category at the 2020 Daytime Emmy ceremony.


Since 2005, many cast members of “Deadliest Catch” have died under mysterious circumstances, some at tragically young ages.

Viewers fondly remember Captain Phil Harris, who died of a massive stroke at just 53 years old in the early 2010s. Phil made a name for himself at just 21 years old, when he was recognized as one of the crab fishing industry’s youngest captains; at the time, he was running the Golden Viking and had already been working on fishing vessels for 14 years. Phil and his vessel, the Cornelia Marie – which was named after his wife and purchased in 1990 – are still mentioned and discussed by “Deadliest Catch” fanatics to this day.

A couple of years after Captain Phil passed away, Captain Tony Lara, the former captain of the Cornelia Marie, suffered a massive heart attack in his sleep and died at just 50 years of age. Captain Blake Painter of the Maverick was found dead at home when 38 years old, after an accidental overdose, although no official cause of death was given; Justin Tennison, who made sporadic appearances in the show, died alone in a hotel room when just 33.

In December 2020, “Deadliest Catch” fans and cast members were in mourning yet again after the loss of Nick McGlashan, who died aged 33 of a drug overdose. Captain Bill Wichrowski was one of the first people to find out, and took Nick’s death particularly hard. The deck boss was respected and liked by his peers, who all paid their respects in a special tribute episode, firing off expired flare guns in his memory.


Nick, who was born and raised in Tennessee, was survived by two young children. He missed out on filming for season 13 of “Deadliest Catch” having checked into rehab; heroin, meth, and alcohol addictions were just some of the demons he grappled with, and ultimately failed to overcome. It’s unclear if he was with the mother of his children at the time of his death.

Most of the deaths related to “Deadliest Catch” occurred off-screen, with the exception being the disappearance of the Destination during the filming of season 13. There were six crew members on board at the time: Captain Jeff Hathaway, Darri Seibold, Raymond Vincler, Larry O’Grady, Kai Hamik, and Charles G. Jones. In the harrowing episode, the Northwestern was notified of the disappearance of the fishing vessel; the USCG tried to track Destination down, as it was believed to have capsized.

Tragically, the ship was wrecked and every crew member on board died. The disaster was blamed on Destination’s lack of preparatory measures, and Captain Jeff’s decision to proceed despite unfavorable weather conditions, without ensuring that the vessel was stable enough to withstand the accumulation of ice. The haunting incident left thousands of viewers heartbroken, and led to stricter safety measures on the show, but ultimately, the Captain bears responsibility for his ship.

To this day, however, the senseless murder of Joe McMahon remains the most obscure death related to “Deadliest Catch”. In July 2015, the associate producer, who worked on nine episodes of the reality series two years prior, was shot and killed outside of his home in Pasadena. Joe was just 24 years old, making him the youngest cast member of “Deadliest Catch” to die.

Discovery Channel said of the tragic incident: “We are heartsick about this tragedy – our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, and to all who knew and worked with him.” According to Joe’s family members, the associate producer heard noises outside his home, went out to investigate and was killed. News outlets stated that deputies responded to a call at 2:19 a.m. after reports of a possible gunshot victim.

Little is known of Joe apart from the strange circumstances surrounding his demise, as he had no other producing credits on his IMDb page, and his social media accounts had been deleted. In an odd turn of events, the suspect behind his shooting was found dead in his car of a self-inflicted gunshot wound mere days later. It remains unclear if the suspect – a man of 24 years old – knew Joe personally; the mystery remains…..

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

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