PASADENA, Calif. — Mark Burnett says reality TV shows don’t have to be mean to work.
The veteran producer of Survivor and The Voice is working on a new CBS show, The Job, which premieres on CBS on Feb. 8. It depicts candidates applying for jobs at several companies, and takes viewers through the whole nerve-racking experience.
“I think I’ve proved in the last few years a kinder approach on television does work,” said Burnett, who was brought on to help at The Job by series creator Michael Davies. Burnett said Saturday that The Voice avoids “ripping people for entertainment value” and has “crushed” Fox competitor The X Factor as result.
The Job also has no intent to humiliate people, producers said.
The first two episodes feature candidates applying for jobs at the Palm restaurant chain and at Cosmopolitan magazine. Future featured companies include Major League Soccer, Epic Records, Live Nation and the online shopping site Gilt.
Five people are competing for jobs in each show. The twist is that after a decision is made, employers in the same industry sometimes swoop in and claim rejected candidates.
Burnett said it’s fun to see the reaction of employers when that happens.
“Everybody wants what somebody else wants,” he said.
“When you want to buy a car or a house or go somewhere, you think, ‘Should I do it?’ and then someone will say, ‘Oh, someone else is going to buy that.’ You suddenly want it even more. It’s great to see the playing field leveled.”
Beyond the entertainment value, Davies said viewers will get practical advice on how to apply and interview for jobs.