Undercover Boss Canada gets 30 episode re-order

Corus original programming, lifestyle, reality and factual entertainment VP Vibika Bianchi tells Playback that authenticity in the Canadian version of the format keeps viewers hooked.

The W Network wants more Undercover Boss Canada. Much more.

And Canadian audiences want more authenticity, compared to the U.S. version of the reality TV show, says Vibika Bianchi, Corus original programming, lifestyle, reality and factual entertainment VP.

Corus on Monday renewed the Alliance Films TV series for another 30 episodes, after an initial ten-episode debut for the local version of the international Undercover Boss format that puts top corporation executives in disguises to work with lowly employees on the shop floor.

“Ratings say it all,” Bianchi tells Playback Daily.

“It’s also really helping people see that W is evolving and not just a movie and lifestyle channel,” she explains.

Bianchi adds that Undercover Boss Canada marks the beginning of a change-up in programming for the network’s audience.

The first season of the format averaged a weekly audience of 545,000 total viewers (2+), according to BBM Canada data.

Bianchi says that the series more closely follows the U.K. version of the format, as Undercover Boss Canada aims for authenticity in the interactions between the big bosses and their employees.

For example, Undercover Boss Canada bypasses the U.S. format’s final scene – what Bianchi calls the “rah rah moment” – where the whole company comes together to hear the CEO recall their experience and view clips from various jobs on the shop floor.

“We’re really trying to find that balance between the emotional story and the drama,” Bianchi says.

“It still is television, so you take it with a grain of salt, but it’s resonating with the audience as much because of its authenticity,” she adds.

Production is already underway on the next 10 episodes of Undercover Boss Canada, which are scheduled to air in Fall 2012.

The 10-episode first season debuted on W Network in February, and wraps this Thursday Apr. 5 with the final episode featuring FedEx Canada’s CEO Lisa Lisson going undercover.

The series is based on the format devised by Studio Lambert, part of the ALL3Media group of companies.

Undercover Boss has aired in more than 175 territories through sales of the U.K. and U.S. Shows, and as local formats.
All3Media International will also shop the Canadian version to international broadcasters.

Thomas Howe is executive producer of Undercover Boss Canada.

Photo: Pizza Pizza CEO Paul Goddard undercover as a franchise employee