Even though The Office just ended its run, fans of unique workplace personalities and drama will still have a place to get their fix — and in real life. The new FOX reality series Does Someone Have to Go? gives employees at “dysfunctional” companies 48 hours to switch places with their boss/owner and call the shots, often leading to what executive producer Cris Abrego calls “one big therapeutic session.”
Abrego says his production sought out companies “where they were having some level of dysfunction, or some level of toxicity in the workplace. … It has nothing to do, in a sense, with financial dysfunction. In fact, the companies we are featuring in this first series are all thriving companies and very successful in their own right. It’s about the employees, and are they overvalued or undervalued?”
Abrego says that part of the agreement made with participating companies was that the owners would do their best to honor the final decisions of the employees. And as employees work on these decisions, they are made privy to information that normally only the boss/owner would have. Including each other’s salaries.
“There’s a ton of tension,” Abrego admits. “A lot gets revealed. … People find out what each of them do and what their role in the company is, and they have to figure out if they bring value to the company in their position.”
If Does Someone Have to Go? sounds slightly familiar, you may be recalling Someone’s Gotta Go, which was picked up by FOX three years ago but did not make it to air, perhaps mainly due to its frankly harsher requirement.
“In every episode,” Abrego recalls of that earlier concept, “somebody had to be let go within the group. [Does Someone Have to Go?] is not that concept. This show is very different because it’s really about employee involvement. … I think the biggest thing to take away from this is that a level of transparency within the workplace will do wonders for companies. When these guys started to find out what others were making, and what they actually did and what their role was, and they talked about it, it really became a very positive thing.”
Does Someone Have to Go? premieres May 23 at 9pm ET/PT on FOX.
Pictured: Employees of Velocity Merchant Services (VMS) in Downers Grove, IL, in the premiere episode of Does Someone Have to Go? – © 2013 Fox Broadcasting Co. Credit: Chris Tomko