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Celebrities swap lives with non-celebs in new CBS reality series

WaPo Team TV's Identity Theft Bureau chief Emily Yahr has agreed to change her name to David Caruso in hopes we will get to spend a week working on The TV Column with the "CSI: Miami" star for the just-ordered CBS's reality series, "The Same Name."

The trade papers are billing it as a "The Prince and the Pauper"-meets-Reality-TV in which, say, Caruso would step out of his lush life -- so similar to that of British royalty -- and trade places with an average Joe who also happens to be named David Caruso only leads a less glam life - the more humdrum the better.

This is exactly what Samuel Clemens had in mind when he wrote his tale of two British boys who looked alike - one the son of Henry VIII, the other a pauper - who switch places and learn how the other half lives.

The new show is very similar to CBS's successful reality-TV specials, "I Get That a Lot" in which celebrities pretend to be non-celebrities and perform humdrum jobs so camera can record the look of astonishment on people's faces when they think they recognize the star, only the star denies they are who they are and instead says "I get that a lot." Jessica Simpson worked in a computer store, Julie Chen served frozen yogurt, Paris Hilton pumped gas. Only in the new show, Paris would replace another person named Paris Hilton who actually does pump gas for a living. Get it?

CBS has turned Identity Theft into a new reality TV genre, having also enjoyed enormous ratings success with its "Undercover Boss." In each episode of this hit series, the CEO of some company goes undercover to mingle with his minions and -- usually after the second ad break -- discovers which slob of a middle manager it is who is mangling His Vision and making life a living hell for his workers. After the third ad break, the undercover boss gives that middle manager the dressing down he or she so richly deserves, cash is dispensed in the direction of some of the workers before the final commercial break -- and They All Live Happily Ever After.

(In case you missed "I Get That a Lot"..."The Same Name" would be similar, except, of course, that Paris Hilton would trade places with a real gas station attendant named Paris Hilton):


And because you can never watch it too many times, in preparation for the Emily Yahr-David Caruso name swap...David Caruso one-liners:


By Lisa de Moraes  | October 25, 2010; 8:14 AM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Next: 'South Park': Imitation is the sincerest form of television

Comments

Pookie, you wrote: "In each episode of this hit series, the CEO of some company goes undercover to mingle with his minions and -- usually after the second ad break -- discovers which some slob of a middle manager it is who is mangling His Vision and making life a living hell for his workers. After the third ad break, the undercover boss gives that middle manager the dressing down he or she so richly deserves, cash is dispensed in the direction of some of the workers, and They All Live Happily Ever After."

I've seen just about every episode, and the scenario you describe above happened once on the Hooters show, and maybe one other time. And there have been a couple of bad employees who have been highlighted. But in general, there is no outing of bad managers. In fact, last night's epi was so lame because the real CEO couldn't do the undercover thing because he'd be recognized, so he sent one of his minions whose heart was clearly not in the game. The whole epi was weak and boring. Producers need to get on the stick. And you need to correct your description of the show, no?

Posted by: lanehatcher | October 25, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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