Skip to main content

Which CEO Should Go On 'Undercover Boss'?

Which CEO stands to benefit the most from an appearance on CBS' new reality show 'Undercover Boss'? Take our poll and see what TheStreet says.



) -- Executives are going undercover at their own firms to get a firsthand look at their inner workings on


(CBS) - Get Free Report

new reality show

Undercover Boss



Undercover Boss

, the concept is simple: executives take entry-level positions at their own companies to see where improvements can be made. Eyes are, ostensibly, opened. Hilarity, supposedly, ensures. And the yawning chasm between corner offices and the proletarian pits is, in theory, bridged. Or so the network promises.

The pilot episode, which aired last night after the Super Bowl, featured

Waste Management's

(WM) - Get Free Report

President and Chief Operating Officer Larry O'Donnell. Waste Management is the largest the largest garbage-collection company and landfill operator in the United Sates. Thus, in the episode, O'Donnell cleaned porta-potties, sorted waste at a recycling plant and collected garbage from a landfill.

Critics of the show were less than kind.

Entertainment Weekly

declared it to be "a literally crappy reality show about highly-paid executives who deign to take off their expensive suits, tell their assistants to hold their BlackBerrys, and spend a week doing some of the work of their vastly lesser-paid employees. Wow: not fun, for either the pampered exec or for us as consumers of entertainment."

"This was one of the worst arguments for capitalism since Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel The Jungle,"




, for its part, predicted that "


could easily become more undercover with each successive hour." Which was not a compliment.

None of which kept the show from amassing sizable overnight ratings. Following on the heels of the Super Bowl XLIV, and its 46.4 rating,

Undercover Boss

pulled a 20.3 rating, in the strongest post-Super Bowl leadout in four years. By way of comparison, NBC earned only an 11.4 overnight rating from

The Office

when it followed the Super Bowl last year.

Other executives slated to make appearances on

Undercover Boss


White Castle

owner Dave Rife,


CEO Coby Brooks,


President and CEO Joseph DePinto and

Churchill Downs

(CHDN) - Get Free Report

CEO William Carstanjen.

All of which is well and good. But we imagine investors might have a different list of CEO's that they would like to see knocked down a peg -- or at least illuminated to the type of corporate potholes that can only be seen at ground level.

By our way of thinking, the chance to watch


(C) - Get Free Report

Vikram Pandit,

J.P. Morgan's

(JPM) - Get Free Report

Jamie Dimon,

Goldman Sachs'

(GS) - Get Free Report

Lloyd Blankfein,


(AAPL) - Get Free Report

Steve Jobs or

Berkshire Hathaway's


Warren Buffett try to mingle with the masses while they toil in the trenches would be priceless.

Just imagine Oracle of Omaha as a conductor on

Burlington Northern


, which his firm bought late last year for $34 billion. Or picture Dimon toiling away as a teller at Chase, being verbally bludgeoned by customers ranting about the outrageous overdraft fees on their latest bank statement.

In this spirit, we ask you: Which of the following CEO's would you most like to see get the "Undercover Boss" treatment? Take the poll below to learn the consensus of


. And don't forget to leave a comment -- because you never know which CEO might be reading.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.


>>Waste Management Goes Undercover

Follow on


and become a fan on


Copyright 2009 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.