By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
CEO spies tackle entry-level work in mild reality show.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The general message is that CEOs from major corporations need to better understand how their attempts to save money and/or be more efficient are impacting their employees' professional and personal lives.
Positive Role Models
The featured CEOs demonstrate a willingness to work toward improving specific problems associated with corporate policies.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some employees claim that their work environment is hostile toward women.
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It’s pretty mild, but occasionally words like “piss” and "hell" are audible.
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Products & Purchases
The businesses featured here include 7-11, White Castle, Waste Management, Hooters, and Churchill Downs.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this reality series -- in which CEOs go undercover and pose as entry-level employees to learn more about how their businesses are being run -- underscores the idea that corporate managers must make an effort to understand how their policies impact the people who work for them. Despite a strong word or two ("piss" and "hell"), the show is pretty mild overall. Gender bias in the workplace and other issues are discussed, and some of the jobs the CEOs do include cleaning toilets and other "undesirable" tasks.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
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What's the Story?
Based on a British show, UNDERCOVER BOSS follows corporate bosses as they leave their offices and work undercover in their own company to find out how their business is really being run. Each boss spends a week travelling to different company sites pretending to be a candidate for an entry-level position. S/he must take direction from lower-level managers, do some unappealing jobs alongside his/her own employees, and adhere to the corporate policies that have been handed down from his/her office. At the end of the week, the CEO's true identity is revealed, and he or she then shares what was learned about the effectiveness of the company's corporate policies and about the people who help make the company run.
Is It Any Good?
The show's premise is that wealthy CEOs are currently out of touch with their companies and don't understand how their decisions impact their employees' professional and personal lives. The events on the show are clearly planned to get this point across. For example, bosses are strategically paired with employees who hav sympathetic and/or distressing life stories. The show also draws specific attention to some of each company's more inadequate corporate policies and highlights any hostile and/or sexist environments that are created when some of these policies are enforced.
Still, the series is surprisingly positive overall. Unsung heroes of each company receive well-deserved recognition, and the featured managers also seem willing to reevaluate some of their companies' procedures in order to serve both the company and its employees. But what really makes the show worth watching is that it acts as a symbolic voice for the millions of people across the country who work hard to contribute to the day-to-day operations of some of America's major corporations.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the differences between working in a corporate environment vs. working in operations-based positions. How does the media represent these different sides? Are there any stereotypes associated with these portrayals?
Do you think going undercover and pretending to be someone you aren't in order to gather information and/or learn more about a group or community is ethical? Why or why not? Do you think these CEOs could learn the same lessons in a different way?
- Premiere date: February 7, 2010
- Cast: Mark Keller
- Network: CBS
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: June 3, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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