BWW Interviews: Michael Davies & Lisa Ling of CBS's New Reality Series THE JOB
From acclaimed executive producers Michael Davies and Mark Burnett, CBS's reality competition, THE JOB, puts deserving candidates face-to-face with executives at some of America's most prestigious companies in the most unique - and demanding - interview of their lives. Each week, a panel of high-ranking executives will put five candidates through a series of elimination challenges, with three guest companies waiting in the wings to possibly make an offer of their own. The series premieres tonight, Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 on the CBS Television Network. (Get a sneak peek here!)
In a recent phone conversation, BWW spoke exclusively with series creator Michael Davies and series host Lisa Ling ("The View") about this new and exciting reality competition.
Michael, what was your inspiration for THE JOB?
Michael Davies: The inspiration was two things. I produced the show 'The Glee Project' in 2011 and 2012 for the Oxygen Network which was effectively a 12-episode job interview. It was not like most musical competitions, it was a competition for a specific job, and it was a job which filled a need that the producers, writers, vocal writers, casting directors, choreographers had on 'Glee.' And when I was producing that show, I realized, wouldn't it be great to take this sort of authentic competition where I'm learning so much about the process of Glee and where the kids are so wrapped into it because it's not just for some sort of prize they're winning, but they're actually getting a career, they're getting a job. Couldn't I apply this to something else, some other world.
And then my daughter finished her freshman year of college and informed me that she had no plans to go back for sophomore year and when I asked why, she said, because none of her friends who were graduating seniors had real jobs. Not jobs that were going to lead to real careers in their chosen industries. They were just going to be doing part time work or they were going to freelance or they were volunteering, all very worthy things, but not pursuing their career right out of college. To some extent, yes we've been through this great entrepreneurial age where people are quitting after their freshman year of Harvard and setting up companies worth billions of dollars. But as I did more research, I realized the idea which is going to drive the majority of the economy is getting our best people, working for our best companies, and to some extent, the eco system after the mortgage crisis has never really got back and really been working very effectively. A lot of people, a lot of young people particularly, really lost faith, a lot of women trying to return to the work force have lost faith in the fact that their career dreams can actually be realized.
Lisa Ling - And on a very basic level, sometimes it's just too difficult to get to the cities where the jobs are being offered.
What is the process involved in narrowing the selection down to the five candidates we see at the start of the show?
MD - Well we worked hand in hand with the HR departments at each company and we figured out who had already applied for the jobs, what they wanted to go and give, how they found their best people, and we just magnified that process and we made it on a more national basis. And we used a lot of the same things we learned about casting, which is getting the word out, using social media, using industry-specific web sites, and talking to people over phone and Skype and really putting the best set of candidates in front of HR departments and companies. But really they made the choice, they made the decision on the short list on the final five and we just set up making a TV show around it.
LL - Yeah, I mean these are candidates who are all incredibly qualified. They are people who have either worked in the industry, they've been studying to work in this industry, they've always aspired to work in this industry and they're not people who want to be reality stars. So to that extent, the sort of casting for the show was different than any other show in that these were really qualified people, vetted by the companies themselves.
Which is certainly a refreshing change of pace.
LL - It is!
Lisa, do you find yourself rooting for one contestant over the others or do you try your best to remain impartial?