1. Reality TV’s modern game shows include Weakest Link and So You Want to be a Millionaire? Test of endurance shows include Fear Factor.Examples of court shows are The People’s Court, Judge Joe Brown. Gamedoc competitions include Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, and The Biggest Loser. [return to essay]

2. Greenhouse reports,

“Americans work 137 hours, or about three and one-half weeks, more a year than Japanese workers, 260 hours (about six and one-half weeks) more a year than British workers and 499 hours (about 12 1/2 weeks) more a year than German workers… The Japanese had long been at the top for the number of hours worked, but in the mid-1990's the United States surpassed Japan, and since then it has pulled farther ahead” (2001, September 1).

3. Stanley adds,

“These self-serving gambits annoy labor groups, including American Rights at Work, a nonprofit labor policy organization in Washington, which circulates labor complaints and employee lawsuits against the companies that CBS has crowned. (1-800-Flowers.com, for example, is currently fighting a sexual harassment suit by a former deputy general counsel and vice president.) The group also takes exception to the way each episode ends with a pageant of seigniorial largesse — a $1,000 gift certificate, a family vacation — instead of a commitment to fair wages and safe working conditions.” (2010, February 10). [return to page 2]

4. Reality TV programming can be inexpensive to make when compared to television shows that rely professional writers for scripts and the involvement of unionized actors or celebrities and others who are able to negotiate for high wages. For instance, for the hugely popular show, The Real World, cast members were paid a pittance and each episode cost only $107,000 to produce (Huff 2006:13). In the late 1990s and early 2000s,

“Finding reality formats cheap to produce, easy to sell abroad, and not dependant on the hiring of unionized acting and writing talent, the industry began to develop more programs” (Ouellette & Murray 2004:7). [return to page 3]


Adams, Becket. (2013, February 5). “Restaurant Employee on ‘Undercover Boss’ Show Admits He Hates Customers, Gets Immediately Fired.” The Blaze, Inc. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/05/restaurant-employee-on-undercover-boss-show-admits-he-hates-customers-gets-immediately-fired/ Internet source. Accessed: March 5, 2013.

Andrejevic, Mark. (2004). Reality TV: The Work of Being Watched. Lanham, Boulder, New York, Toronto, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Billings Gazette. (2013, January 11). “Kampgrounds' CEO featured on 'Undercover Boss'.” Billings Gazette. http://billingsgazette.com/entertainment/tv/kampgrounds-ceo-featured-on-undercover-boss/article_0335b5a9-eff9-5e4e-83bf-7c0764969320.html Internet source. Accessed: February 28, 2013.

Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine. (2010, February 4). “The Fakery of CEOs Undercover.”
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_07/b4166078342087.htm Internet source. Accessed: March 5, 2013.

Bourdieu, Pierre. (1996). On Television. New York: The New Press. Translation by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson.

Brenton, Sam, and Cohen, Reuben. (2003). Shooting People: Adventures in Reality TV. London & New York: Verso.

Connolly, Laylan. (2013, February 26). “’Undercover Boss’ gives inside glimpse at O’Neill.” Orange County Register. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/bost-497318-jesus-neill.html Internet source. Accessed: March 7, 2013.

Dovey, Jon. (2000). Freakshow: First Person Media and Factual Television. London: Pluto Press.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. (2001) Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. New York: Metropolitan Books.

Eppley Rupon, Kristy. (2013, January 18). “Columbia Moe’s worker featured on ‘Undercover Boss’.” The Charlotte Observer.

Fletcher, Michael A. (2013, January 15). “Ranks of working poor increasing.” The Washington Post. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-15/business/36343636_1_jobs-with-lower-wages-fastest-job-growth-families Internet source. Accessed: February 28, 2013.

Greenhouse, Steven. (2001, September 1). “Americans' International Lead in Hours Worked Grew in 90's, Report Shows.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/01/us/americans-international-lead-in-hours-worked-grew-in-90-s-report-shows.html Internet source. Accessed: May 27, 2013.

----. (2013, January 12). “Our Economic Pickle.” The New York Times.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/sunday-review/americas-productivity-climbs-but-wages-stagnate.html Internet source. Accessed: May 27, 2013.

Hardt, Michael, & Negri, Antonio. (2000). Empire. Cambridge & London: Harvard University Press.

Hartley, John. (2008). Television Truths. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Huff, Richard M. (2006). Reality Television. Connecticut & London: Praeger.

Keller, Josh. (2011, April 24). “A Chancellor Strolls His Campus in Disguise on CBS’s ‘Undercover Boss’.” The Chronicle For Higher Education. http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/127236/ Internet source. Accessed: March 5, 2013.

Kondolojy, Amanda. (2013, February 2). “TV Ratings Friday: ‘Nikita’, ‘CSI:NY’ & ‘Malibu Country’ Dip + ‘Last Man Standing’ Steady.” TV by the Numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/02/02/tv-ratings-friday-nikita-csiny-malibu-country-dip-shark-tank-rises-last-man-standing-steady/167677/ Internet source. Accessed: March 5, 2013.

Lambert, Stephen, & Holzman, Eli. (2011). Undercover Boss: Inside the TV Phenomenon That is Changing Bosses and Employees Everywhere. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. With Mark Levine.

Lederman, Maddy. (2013, January 22). “Undercover Boss: Why It Makes Me Mad.” The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maddy-lederman/undercover-boss-_b_2511898.html Internet source. Accessed: February 28, 2013.

Murray, Susan, & Ouellette, Laurie. (2004). “Introduction.” In Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture, edited by Laurie Ouellette and Susan Murray. New York & London: New York University.

Niedzviecki, Hal. (2009). The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors. San Francisco: City Lights Bookstore.

Rocchio, Christopher. (2009, February 2). “CBS orders ‘Secret millionaire’—like ‘Undercover Boss’.” Reality TV World. http://www.realitytvworld.com/news/report-cbs-orders-secret-millionaire-like-undercover-boss-series-8362.php Internet source. Accessed: March 5, 2013.

Seidman, Robert. (2009, December 20). “CBS picks ‘Undercover Boss’ for post-Super Bowl slot.” TV by the numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2009/12/20/cbs-picks-undercover-boss-for-post-super-bowl-slot/36836/ Internet source. Accessed: February 28, 2013.

----. (2010, February 8). “Undercover Boss Marks Biggest New Series Premiere Since 1987.” TV by the numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2010/02/08/undercover-boss-marks-biggest-new-series-premiere-since-1987/41407/ Internet source. Accessed: March 11, 2013.

----. (2010, February 9). “TV Ratings: Super Bowl XLIV, Post Game and Undercover Boss Dominate Weekly Viewing.” TV by the numbers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2010/02/09/tv-ratings-super-bowl-xliv-post-game-and-undercover-boss-dominate-weekly-viewing/41481/ Internet source. Accessed: March 11, 2013.

Stanley, Alessandra.  (2010, February 5). “Undercover Boss. He’s Good at Pushing Paper, but Can He Pick Up Trash?” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/06/arts/television/06under.html Internet source. Accessed: February 28, 2013.

----. (2010, February 10). “Reality TV That Puts the Boss in Meek’s Clothing.”
The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/weekinreview/11stanleywir.html Internet source. Accessed: February 28, 2013.

Striffler, Steve. (2012). “Undercover Boss: CBS reality television series.” Labor: Studies In Working-Class History of the Americas. Volume 9, Issue 4.

U.S. Department of Labor. (2012 March). “A profile of the working poor.” Report 1035. http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpswp2010.pdf Internet source. Accessed: February 28, 2013.

Williams, Raymond. (1974). Television: Technology and Cultural Form. New York: Schocken Books.

To topPrint versionJC 55 Jump Cut home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.