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Report: CBS orders 'Secret Millionaire'-like 'Undercover Boss' series

By Christopher Rocchio, 02/02/2009 

Business executives are apparently going incognito for a new reality series.

CBS has ordered Undercover Boss, a new Secret Millionaire meets Dirty Jobs reality series that will follow corporate executives working in disguise at the "dirtiest, dreariest position" in their own company, The New York Post reported Monday.

Undercover Boss will be based on a new British reality series of the same name that is scheduled to premiere on the U.K.'s Channel 4 network next month is being produced by the same producers that previously produced The Secret Millionaire for the British network. 

The Secret Millionaire -- which premiered on Channel 4 in 2006 -- served as the basis of Fox's Secret Millionaire, which followed several millionaires as they left their lavish lifestyles to learn what it's like to survive in impoverished neighborhoods. 

Similar to Secret Millionaire, each Undercover Boss episode will feature a different corporate executive, however Boss will be less altruistic than Millionaire

While Secret Millionaire was designed to help its stars find people that could benefit from their charitable contributions (each millionaire was required to give away at least $100,000 of their own money), Undercover Boss' participants will be trying to "find out what's not working" at their company and "fix it."

How closely CBS' adaptation will follow Undercover Boss' original U.K. edition remains unclear, however Channel 4's edition requires the participating executive to spend 10 days "completely immersed" in the undesirable position with the hopes of gaining a new understanding of their business.

Once the undercover stint ends, the executive presents their findings to the company's board, reveals their real identity to the unsuspecting workers, and makes changes to fix the problems.  Some of those changes involve rewarding employees who deserve recognition, but others receive less happy news.

"Unrecognized talent is rewarded or promoted - and poor performers will have nowhere to hide," according to Channel 4's press materials.

CBS has yet to announce when production on Undercover Boss will begin stateside, however The Post reported it is currently being considered to air in the fall.

Secret Millionaire aired on Fox in December.

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