Undercover Boss

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Undercover Boss TV Poster Image
CEO spies tackle entry-level work in mild reality show.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 5 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

The featured CEOs demonstrate a willingness to work toward improving specific problems associated with corporate policies.


Some employees claim that their work environment is hostile toward women.


It’s pretty mild, but occasionally words like “piss”  and "hell" are audible.


The businesses featured here include 7-11, White Castle, Waste Management, Hooters, and Churchill Downs.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 17 years old Written byabbacus June 9, 2012

Really good!

I like this show a lot. But it's not the best.
Kid, 10 years old March 12, 2011
very intresting

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?

TV details

  • Premiere date: February 7, 2010
  • Cast: Mark Keller
  • Network: CBS
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Available on: DVD, Streaming
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love gathering information

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate