“Undercover Boss: Celebrity Edition” premieres at 8 p.m. Friday evening on CBS, with three-time Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas disguised as a middle-aged aspiring gym owner.
CBS aired its first celebrity episodes of “Undercover Boss” last May with Grammy Award-winning musician Darius Rucker and chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson, prompting the new series with celebrities putting on talent searches in their fields.
The celebrities are disguised with what CBS described as state-of-the-art prosthetic makeup and custom-made wigs that took an average of two and a half hours to apply.
“I’ve always loved talent shows like `American Idol’ and `America’s Got Talent’ but there’s one thing I don’t like about those shows — it’s the inauthenticity of the contestants,” executive producer Greg Goldman said. “People come on pretending they make burritos or are a plumber with a little side hobby that they have always loved and the reality is that they have spent their whole lives working on their craft.
“So I thought it would be interesting to take our `Undercover Boss’ format and tweak it a little bit so that we could see talented people who had no idea that they were on a talent search show so we can see how they really behave when they are around someone in their chosen field that they idolize but have no idea who the person is because they are in disguise.”
Friday evening’s episode includes two gymnastic coaches who run their own gym “telling Gabby Douglas how amazing Gabby Douglas is and they have no idea they are talking to Gabby Douglas,” Goldman said.
Goldman said he and fellow producers selected categories “and worked backwards to find celebrities who are iconic and `best of class’ in that field. Upcoming episodes feature Broadway star Idina Menzel (May 18), YouTube star Bethany Mota (May 25) and Professional Football Hall of Fame member Deion Sanders (June 1).
Menzel disguises her voice and delivers “the most atrocious version of a Whitney Houston song that you’ve ever seen” when working with a wedding singer and helps an aspiring Broadway performer move to New York City to pursue her dreams, Goldman said.
Mota’s episode includes her on the streets of Hollywood beatboxing, mimicking drum machines. Sanders encounters a homeless college student.
Additional episodes, including ones featuring top models and business icons, will be announced later.
“`Undercover Boss: Celebrity Edition’ has all of the heart of helping deserving unsuspecting people with big hearts and amazing stories that the original show has with some fun fish out of water moments for our celebrities who have to go back to the beginning of their careers and get their hands dirty,” Goldman said.
Douglas called “Undercover Boss” “such a fun and very motivating show,” and especially enjoys how the bosses “discover the needs of those employees who are on the journey with them.”
“It’s awesome to see how acts of kindness impact the lives of those around us,” Douglas said. “I definitely wanted to be a part of that.”
Douglas said making the episode was “an amazing experience — from dressing up and selling the disguise to getting to know everyone.”
“I really had a great time learning about how they all wanted to make a difference in the world,” Douglas said.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: