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CBS sends 'Undercover Boss' back to work

[This blog post has been updated.]

The bar has been set impossibly high for networks at Summer TV Press Tour 2010- the head of ABC Entertainment has already up and left the building.

CBS kicked things off Wednesday morning as well as it could, announcing four new companies whose bosses have decided to put their employees to work -- for free according to the show's producer -- on "Undercover Boss," the reality series in which The Boss goes undercover to figure out which middle-manager is bungling His Vision and making life so difficult for The Deserving Worker-bees.

Last season, the president of Waste Management went undercover, among others. This season, "Undercover Boss" will feature companies including NASCAR, DirecTV, Chiquita Brands and Great Wolf Resorts. (Dan Littlejohn/CBS)
Those companies are: NASCAR, DirecTV, Chiquita Brands and Great Wolf Resorts. "Undercover Boss" was the No.1 ranked new series of last season which wrapped in May, clocking an average of nearly 18 million viewers. That number is pumped up owing to the first episode having aired following the Super Bowl to nearly 39 million viewers which was the largest audience ever for a new series following the Super Bowl and the biggest new series premiere since 1987.

One TV critic wondered, what with so many people knowing about -- and watching -- the show, how there are any employees left at any companies who, when a "new employee" shows up with a camera crew in tow, don't immediately say to themselves -- "Aha! 'Undercover Boss' has arrived, and that 'new employee' is my boss!"

"If you hear hoof beats you don't think 'zebras'," CBS programming president Nina Tassler responded, during her Q&A session.

She declined to discuss what that actually meant. But, after conferring with a colleague at the tour who has doctors living on his street, we have determined she was going for that old medical gag about how if you hear hooves, think "horse" not "zebra" -doctor-speak for "look for the most obvious explanation for some illness because that's probably the right one."

Except, in this case, wouldn't "Undercover Boss" be the horse and not the zebra.

Our head began to throb. Tassler would not explain what she meant. Nor would she clarify what was the "procedure" the producers had for picking out the least suspicious, most TV-illiterate employees at DirecTV, NASCAR, Chiquita Brands and Great Wolf Resorts. She just smiled sweetly and assured TV critics the methods were "effective," adding "so I'm excited."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  July 28, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
Categories:  Summer TV Press Tour 2010  
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Next: Patient CBS programming chief faces McPherson questions


What about BP's CEO. That should have been a no-brainer. Could have had him help clean the beaches.

Oh wait, he got fired. I guess he got his life back.

Posted by: Iceman_63 | July 28, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

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