Undercover Boss - Review

The premise for "Undercover Boss" seems particularly timely -- a made-for-reality-TV fantasy for financially beleaguered times. Amid concerns that wealthy CEOs are "out of touch," the narrator notes, those same execs will walk a mile in their employees' shoes, and can theoretically right wrongs transpiring far underneath their noses. CBS is banking on the concept to the tune of a post-Super Bowl launch, and it's probably not a bad bet. Still, it's a shame the production isn't a little less obvious, from the "Survivor"-like musical flurries to the warm fuzziness that ensues around the two-minute warning.

Actually, the main thing missing from the "Boss" premiere (small spoiler alert, sort of) is that there's no real comeuppance moment. Waste-management company CEO Larry O'Donnell III is clearly moved by seeing life from his workers' perspective, but he doesn't, for instance, catch a supervisor overstepping the bounds, which might have been truly cathartic.

As is, the program bears considerable resemblance to Fox's "Secret Millionaire," a 2008 show that also parachuted the wealthy and privileged into modest circumstances, opening their eyes (and pocketbooks) to the struggling folks they meet. The timing might be more advantageous here, but the execution is virtually the same.

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