Monday, December 21, 2009

CBS airing new show, Undercover Boss, after Superbowl. What?

This is CBS's description of the show:

UNDERCOVER BOSS is a new reality series that follows high level corporate executives as they slip anonymously into the lowest level jobs within their companies. Once undercover, they’ll get their hands dirty with the rank and file, find out what their employees REALLY think of them and discover how smoothly their companies are REALLY run. In the process, these senior executives learn about themselves, the perception of their company and the spirit of their work force.

Instead of airing the season premiere of Survivor's 20th season, The Big Bang Theory, The Mentalist, NCIS, or any of the other hit shows CBS has, the suits at CBS decided to air a new show -- a reality show no less.

I rarely watch reality shows (maybe 5 times a year) so I definitely won't be watching, but what matters is if people stick around to watch. Undercover Boss isn't a competition show like the immensely popular American Idol and Dancing With the Stars, so why does CBS think it can succeed in the long run? After all, that's the purpose of the post-Superbowl timeslot. It is intended to have huge ratings in the short run and have considerable ratings payoff in the long term.

Perhaps it is my bias towards reality shows, but I can't imagine how the show can succeed. The concept is sound for a run-of-the-mill reality show; the rich guy being the lowly laborer will produce heartwarming and humorous moments. I don't imagine how the audience will be captivated to watch different people each week. The draw of the popular reality shows (AI, DWTS, BB, AR, HK) is that there are memorable characters that compete each week. There is nothing in Undercover Boss that indicates it can produce the same results.


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