NEW YORK (
) -- Executives are going undercover at their own firms to get a firsthand look at their inner workings on
new reality show
, 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
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.
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,
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
when it followed the Super Bowl last year.
Other executives slated to make appearances on
owner Dave Rife,
CEO Coby Brooks,
President and CEO Joseph DePinto and
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
Steve Jobs or
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
, 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
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