Undercover Boss

Sorry. This isn’t much of a Review of Undercover Boss, because it didn’t really engage me.

Reckon this one is going to struggle here.

This is one of those American reality shows that seems a better fit on a cable channel because it is so darned US of A. You know the drill, loud credits and voice-over trying to pique your interest in something you really have zero interest in. Cut to some charmed-life CEO, cut to factory workers in midtown America, cut to me reaching for my remote…

The first episode features Larry O’Donnell, the President and C.O.O. of Waste Management, working alongside employees sorting cardboard, collecting paper, working on the garbage trucks and yes, cleaning portaloos (eww). Where is Kenny when you need him?

It’s essentially Secret Millionaire in the workplace, and similarly passes itself off as filming a doco about entry-level jobs to get access.

Because we are not familiar with either the company, or the boss undercover, it’s pretty hard to connect. Even more so when it is in 4:3 (thanks CBS). If it had a weekly character a la Supernanny it might be more engaging, but the premise doesn’t allow for that.

When it moves to 7:30pm Mondays TEN this could have real problems. The second episode will be based at 7/11  (the busty Hooters restaurant chain episode will air last). And this is supposed to replace MasterChef? Big call…..I know it has been a  hit in the States (debuting after Super Bowl) so maybe I am miscalling it. But this is the Australian market.

Might work in an Aussie format (which was promised an eternity ago) but this is just too American, perhaps we should have seen the British one first?

Undercover Boss premieres 9:30pm Sunday on TEN.


  1. mark zanker

    I thought you were a bit harsh on Larry and his “charmed” life. I’m pretty sure he would give all his money away so that his daughter would have an opportunity for a normal life. That said undercover boss is not a prime-time show and it should be on a bit later.

  2. I’m so glad that this came after Masterchef, as I was recording it, and the recording went over and caught this show, and it’s surprised me pleasantly, cos I was expecting the boss to find out about how poorly his workers were and were going to fire some to shape them up, but it was about making his company better and helping his employees to have a better working environment and life. Will be watching the next one definitely!

  3. I just finished watching it on ten… And I thought it was really great!! I very interesting show that kept me watching. Larry (the boss) was a likeable guy. The show might get repetitive, but I will definitely tune in to watch. I enjoyed it a lot more than the MasterChef finale, which I thought wasn’t as exciting as last year’s…

  4. the Pink Panther

    hmmmm… goodlooking white collar worker becomes very goodlooking blue collar worker? meh. yeah we’ll probably watch it… on mute…

  5. I’ve seen this show and although American and contrived, (They obviously research the employee list for hardship cases) I found it watchable and a bit of a tear jerker.

    It’s a little like, secret Millionaire. If you liked that show, you would have no trouble liking this.

    The one thing I did find annoying was the constant need to backtrack after a commercial. Like Master Chef! Stop this backtracking and you can cut another 7-8 mins out of it and replace with more content. Take note TEN!

  6. I have seen it and i agree. Australia will hate this series because it is so American! I dont mind it but after a couple of weeks i got sick of it. The series itself though is a good format and i will see how TEN develops the Australian series if they decide to go ahead with it.

  7. maybe when they make an Aussie version they have a TV network CEO go and visit some of his lower-ranked employees and he can hear them complain about the rubbish/cheap programming that the management are buying and making them put to air, promote, etc etc 🙂

  8. Didn’t Ten show a UK version of this a couple of years ago and it died after a few episodes ?
    It was on either sunday or thursdays at 7.30pm

  9. This show is really quite interesting, sure, a bit repetitive “oh, this job is a lot harder than I imagined, I have learned a lot today”. But as a uni student, I know how much entry level jobs suck, and it was good to see some people finally trying to understand what they put people through as their faceless boss.

    Having said all this, I think this show will flop, as it’s not for most Australian’s and TEN won’t give it a real go, unless they are 100% on doing a local version.

  10. Not even going to bother tuning in, if the voice over is anything like the annoying Wipeout USA commentators then this thing deserves a prime spot in land fill.

    I also can’t believe america and its insistence on using 4:3 for anything that isn’t filmed in true HD. Ridiculous.

  11. Didn’t mind this show, not bad value for what it is.
    Ten is planning on making a local version, yes?
    It’s all in the casting as it always is with reality shows.
    There were plenty of gems throughout the entire US Series

  12. i haven’t seen it but i was not expecting this response david.

    shame if it isn’t any good, i think this format of 1hr reality/factual is my favourite type of TV like World’s Strictst parents, WDYTYA, secret millionaire, how to look good naked, wife swap ect.

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