Business

Fox Making Layoffs into Reality Show

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So, the ever-sophisticated minds at the Fox network have decided the recession could make for quality entertainment. The network plans to air a reality series where employees at struggling small businesses will decide who among them will be laid off (as distinct from the boss making the decision).

Fox is attempting to position the show, called “Someone’s Gotta Go,” as less about reveling in other people’s misfortune and more about promoting employee empowerment. You see, the companies will disclose all employee’s salaries, thus allowing colleagues to make sure a deserving person isn’t terminated.

While I am a strong supporter of salary transparency in the workplace, that’s hardly the point behind the show. Fox is just trying to turn a very real and difficult problem into entertainment. What’s next? A reality program where transplant patients vote on who should get stuck at the end of the transplant list? Maybe we can set up some cameras outside a shelter and get homeless people to vote on which of them has to sleep outside once the shelter is full?

As to why any self-respecting small business owner would agree to be a part of Fox’s show, maybe the network is paying the businesses significant money (Fox hasn’t released details on any payments). Or maybe the business owners hope the exposure on national television will help elevate sales. If companies are in bad enough shape, I can see why they’d be willing to try anything.

But I’m not sure what Fox’s motivation is. The show makes the network look callous and, without being an expert in television programming, I’m hard pressed to identify what the intended audience is for a show that reminds viewers we’re in a recession and times are pretty crappy.

All said, it’s not that big of a deal. But I thought it worth a mention. I’m sure the marketplace will quickly determine whether or not Fox has made a mistake with this show.