If the boss is so nice, why does he have to pretend he’s somebody else? With “Amazing Race” returning on Sunday night, CBS moves “Undercover Boss” (7 p.m.) to Fridays. For the uninitiated, this documentary series invites CEOs of companies big and small to pretend to be just one of the rank and file employees at the corporation’s factory, office or franchise.
Tonight, Rick Silva, the president of fast-food franchise Checkers & Rally’s, dons a uniform and discovers what it’s like to be one of the folks who fry, flip and serve around 2 million burgers a week.
‘‘Undercover” is one of the few series on television to deal with the relationship between employers and employees. Most episodes end with the big boss acknowledging the value of his staff and admitting that he or she has something to learn from the lower rungs of the corporate hierarchy. The fact that the bosses have to wear disguises or fake identities to appear empathetic and benevolent (or to simply listen to their employees) says a great deal about how our society works, or doesn’t.
Over the course of the season, bosses from American Seafoods, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Oriental Trading Co. go “Undercover.”
• No matter how benevolent the boss, many folks want to go into business for themselves, but need a little seed money to bring their vision to fruition. That’s the point of “Shark Tank” (7 p.m., ABC). Tonight, a panel of televised venture capitalists considers the possibility of investing in a Texas family’s jewelry line, a new variation on the pillow or a whole new way to appreciate tea.
Of course, some like to strike it rich without the intercession of bosses, jobs, or investors. For them, there’s “Gold Rush” (8 p.m., Discovery) or “Bering Sea Gold” (9 p.m., Discovery), outsized fantasies about a dangerous frozen frontier where sudden strikes are rare; the chance of death ever present.
• We all knew filmmaker George Lucas had the force behind him. After tonight, he’ll have even more going for him when he receives the Vantage Award at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards (7 p.m., NBC) to honor his body of work. “Star Wars” actor Samuel L. Jackson will join LL Cool J, Vanessa Williams, Cicely Tyson and others.