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In a shocking move, CBS has given the coveted post-Super Bowl time slot to Undercover Boss and not to CBS’ other highly rated shows like The Big Bang Theory, Survivor or The Mentalist.
The Super Bowl is the most-watched television event of the year and networks use the lead-in to help boost their marquee shows. Some networks also choose the time to “break in” a freshman show. Giving the slot to CBS’ new reality show shows the network has faith in its new series.
Undercover Boss will follow top executives as they “anonymously assume entry-level jobs at their company and receive eye-opening perspectives on how their decisions affect lower-wage employees.” During its debut year, executives from 7-Eleven, White Castle, Hooters, Waste Management and Churchill Downs will take part.
The decision marks the first time since 2005 that a broadcast network has decided to air a new program after the Super Bowl. Fox aired the debut of American Dad after that year’s championship game, though the show was paired with the long-running show, The Simpsons. In 1995 ABC aired the pilot for Extreme, solo, after the Super Bowl.
CBS previewed the pilot for Undercover Boss at its May “upfront presentation” for advertisers. The feedback was favorable and the series was expected to debut sometime in midseason.
In the first episode of Undercover Boss, viewers will witness the COO and president of Waste Management, Larry O’Donnell, clean toilets and work at a recycling plant. The show will run after CBS’s postgame coverage. Going forward, the show will air on Sundays at 9 p.m. starting on February 14, alongside the premiere of The Amazing Race.
“The journey of watching a chief executive walk a mile in their employees’ shoes is always very revealing, often humorous and in some cases very inspiring,” said Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment.
Given the feelings on “Main Street” for corporate executives, the show should be a win.