Reality show puts firing power in the hands of employees

An advertisement for the Fox reality TV show "Does Someone Have To Go?"

If there's one place where we all have control issues it's the workplace. Sometimes it feels as though you've got no control, especially when the economy's bad, and people are getting laid off. It's bad enough in real life. Do we really want to watch workplace control issues play out on TV? Fox thinks we do!


Fox's new reality show "Does Someone Have to Go?" puts the power into the hands of co-workers, who will vote on who should be fired. Cris Abrego is the executive producer of the show. He says the show is like "Survivor" meets "The Office."

"I've always wanted to do something in the workspace. I think it's something we're all fascinated with," says Abrego. "What is the one thing everybody can relate to? In going around my office and talking to people, the one thing everyone related to was that most of the time, in most offices, they think they know better than the boss."

The show allows co-workers to test that idea by giving them the ability to fire their colleagues if they feel that's what should be done in order to fix the office.

A pilot for the series was shot in 2008, so why is it now premiering? Abrego says an earlier version of the show was focused on the economy -- and with the Great Recession, the timing was obviously off. The show has since been retooled to focus on office personnel issues.

But with the economy and jobs still in the forefront of people's minds, is this the right time to premiere a show like this?

"That's not what the show is about. Think about someone who does have a job and is not doing their job," says Abrego. "It's not about just firing someone simply for the sake of just, hey, I don't like you. It's not a popularity contest. These employees took it serious. They evaluate each person's value to the company and then they make a decision."

One interesting aspect of the show -- workers' salaries are revealed, which factors into deciding whether an employee should go.

"I generally learned a lot. It was wild," says Abrego. "We did four different offices and I learned they shared a lot of similarities. I learned that there's a lot that the employees have on their chests that they want to get off. They generally don't have a voice. And this, once they've been given this voice, they took it with a lot of responsibility."

Have you ever thought about who you would get rid of at your job if you had the power? We haven't either. That's why we created this poll -- Which TV character would you fire? Vote below!


About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
Log in to post2 Comments

Why kind of incompetent manager keeps a salesman who hasn't made a sale in two years? They both need to go. Why is it that Fox seems to have some of the worst shows out there as well? I had a college professor try to turn the class into a stupid "survivor" type contest where the student with the best work won. The others would be kicked out of class. Then he had the nerve to STEAL student artwork and try to pass it off as his own. We really don't need anymore unreality shows. The CEOs, hiring managers, or partners are never held responsible in the real world for a failing company.

This is not entertainment, it's stupidity aired for the world to see. Jaimie Dimon should have been fired for losing 2 Billion but was instead kept on. If someone at a local Ghetto Mart was $5 short in their cash register they would have been fired without question.

It's the "Hooray for me and screw you!" attitude that proliferates in the workplace. CEOs are vastly overpaid while Americans can't hack it on minimum wage. Why don't they just call it welfare wage instead? You'll end up on welfare since no one can make a living on such a tiny paycheck. If they can stack the deck in their favor they do it without any thought.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. I just heard this story on the radio. This is not a personal attack, it is an assessment of the idea that "someone" - apparently an employee - is responsible for the company's woes. Let us not consider vulture capitalism gutting U.S. companies or VASTLY overpaid CEO's (in fact, the only reason I would watch this program is if the CEO could 'go' under the same terms as a staffer - in front of everyone and with no severance). I can see why the FOX propaganda channel is airing it. Seems like another "holier than thou" piece of mind soak to me. Those rich corporate leaders are soooo much smarter than us.

With Generous Support From...