When watching last night’s Survivor finale, hearing Jeff Probst announce that the next installment of Survivor (Heroes vs. Villains) was going to begin on February 11th made me extremely happy. It’s not that February 11th is my birthday, or a day that means anything to me, but rather that I knew it wasn’t the day of the Super Bowl, which meant that CBS wasn’t making the mistake of placing a venerable, and safe, franchise in the most coveted timeslot of the year.
But when I came online after Survivor, my elation turned to confusion, as CBS announced that the post-Super Bowl slot would be going to a new reality series called Undercover Boss. And while some part of me is pleased that CBS is becoming the first network in over a decade to put a new show after the big game, the content of me show makes me immediately skeptical. Launching a show via the Super Bowl has often pushed dramas and comedies into creating some really eventful television, and often those shows (like, say, Grey’s Anatomy) have built on that event in order to help establish their identity. However, pulling the pilot of a reality series that’s been done since the summer and placing it into the slot is not the same process, nor is Undercover Boss (a series about executives at major companies taking an entry-level position at said companies) a show that is ever going to evolve into something different than what its already completed season order has established.
And so I’m left lamenting that CBS has chosen a series which is designed to boost their reputation and their ratings rather than the show itself, although I shouldn’t entirely be surprised at this behaviour considering that network hubris is also the source of a rather ludicrous story emerging surrounding what I’m dubbing the “Bizarro Emmys.”