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Undercover Boss Strikes Ratings Gold After Super Bowl

In January, CBS made the controversial decision to air the premiere of an unseen reality series instead of a popular show after the Super Bowl. But CBS’ Undercover Boss pulled in solid ratings for the network according to Nielsen overnight ratings.

In the early preliminary market numbers Undercover Boss had a 20.3/33 (household rating/share) between 10:15pm-11:15pm. These are the best numbers since Grey’s Anatomy in 2006 and trumped NBC’s The Office, which scored a 14.4/24 after the Super Bowl.

“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.

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 mid-season.

Despite an initial order of just 10 episodes, CBS sees big potential in a show that paints Corporate America in a kinder light. Next week, the CEO of Hooters will be going undercover.

In the show, Coby Brooks leaves his cushy corner office at the Hooters headquarters in Atlanta and goes to work within the restaurants, incognito, to get a first hand look at the company, working side-by-side with the cooks, Hooters Girls and management.

“In my business life I have been afforded the opportunity to take part in many interesting events,” stated Coby Brooks. “My experience with Undercover Boss could quite possibly be the most unique venture yet.  When I was in school I started my career working in one of our early Hooters’ kitchens and Undercover Boss gave me the opportunity to get back to the front line of the restaurant. It was an educational, enlightening and an emotional trip that reminded me how much I love Hooters and all our people. It will make me a better leader for our company.”

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