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October 21, 2014

Is 'Undercover Boss' the Next Great Reality Show?

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Feb 1st 2010 9:02PM
Undercover Boss sends CEOs into the field to see how their employees get along.The time slot right after the Super Bowl is usually a good place to air. And CBS is hoping that holds for its new reality show, 'Undercover Boss.'

With more than 100 million viewers set to tune in, some are too lazy, too stuffed with party food or (let's face it) too drunk to change the channel. So, they'll stick around for whatever comes on after the final whistle. This year, it's

The new pilot is a stealth reality show -- looking to combine the cheap, easy ingredients of interoffice drama, humor and shock reveals. The title is self-explanatory, but the premise takes a large company and sends its CEO in as an average employee. As that CEO mixes and mingles with his fellow employees, he gets to see what their days are like, whether they enjoy their jobs, etc.

But, let's get to the point. This show is built around and waits for the moment when one of the rank-and-file comments on what an ass the big boss is without knowing that he or she is in ear shot. That's the "oooh" moment for such a show -- and it'll be interesting to watch how the producers handle and time it in the hour.

The first CEO on the block is Waste Management president and COO Larry O'Donnell (above). It'll be a little take on 'Dirty Jobs' to see the clean-cut big shot swing some garbage around.

But, the pilot and every episode does beg one question. Are we to believe that no one in these companies recognizes the boss? Are there no pictures on the walls or company newsletters that show what these folks look like? In an age when reality shows are under scrutiny to prove their "realistic" productions, 'Undercover Boss' better confront that query.

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Katherine

I watched the episode on Undercover Boss from HOOTERS. I thought it was tacky and not refined of the girl that said the ladies husband would still be there at the end of the day. But you rewarded her with a PR. Thats classy!!! My husband doesnt go there because he said the wings are nasty and the girls look like skanks!!!! And he has respect for women.

February 15 2010 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chris

i actually like this show. I wish the CEO of Wal-mart would come down to my job and see how 2 people run an entire department by ourselves. And not one manager in the building even cares. The only person that even cares is my department manager He and I run our butts off and no one cares and they even got rid of a couple of employees because they know we can do it. But it's really hard and no one in the store even wants to help because it is to cold. I have even asked if they could hire some to help us out but they say we don't have the hours to hire someone. We use to have 3 people on first shift, 1 on second a 2 on third. Know 1 on first ,1 on second and 2 on third. And put out enought food for a large town. But anyways i think the CEO of every company should be forced to do this. To see what type of HELL we go through for shitty pay. And then they tell use we need to work harder. THIS SHOW IS PERFECT!!!

February 07 2010 at 11:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jennifer

I havent seen a "good" reality show yet

February 02 2010 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Guess Who

"Is 'Undercover Boss' the Next Great Reality Show?"

The next great reality show? I've yet to see a single "great" reality show. There's a reason "Amazing Race" has won the Emmy 73 thousand times in a row, because it's the best of the lot, but it's still far from being "great".

February 02 2010 at 4:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anthony

I've previously worked for an extremely large company (the 2nd biggest in Australia) and I guarantee I'd recognise the boss(at the time I worked there) if he walked into the store. Although the first episode of the show it's the COO, not the CEO. I wouldn't have recognised any of the C-something-Os apart from the CEO. So the CFO, CIO, COO, etc. could all walk up to me and told me their name and still wouldn't have a clue who they were. So it'll be interesting to see how many actual CEOs and not slightly lower executives are the ones who mix with the rank-and-file.

February 02 2010 at 4:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sir Yuck-Yuck

I will stick to the Amazing Race, Survivor and Big Brother

February 02 2010 at 12:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Christine

For me, the "ooh" moment(s) will be when a CEO finds himself working "under" a tinpot dictator who delights in making the underlings miserable. C'mon, we've all worked for that kind of boss at least once. Seeing them called to the mat for their bullying, then fired for it, is what I'll be waiting and watching for.

February 01 2010 at 10:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amanda

I work for a very large hotel chain, and I have seen a few pics of the CEO, but if he came in and was wearing a bellman's uniform I doubt that I would recognize him.

If the CEO of AOL came by to empty your trash and vacuum the floor, would you recognize him?

I look forward to this show.

February 01 2010 at 9:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Amanda's comment
emassoni

Agreed. While at some point or another most employees of a company will see a picture of the CEO, I doubt many actually commit that to memory. Plus, you would never expect to see your CEO working next to you so I don't think anyone would suspect it. The people who would probably recognize the CEO are those in the corporate offices, not the employees in the field.

February 01 2010 at 10:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Catherine

I work for a major international hotel chain too. Some days I wish upper management would assist cleaning after our guests!! I'm sure any & ALL housekeepers can relate to this comment!! Keep up the great work fellow co-workers!!

March 01 2010 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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