Somewhere in the CBS press release about Undercover Boss’s boffo debut ratings was the claim that this was the biggest debut for any new TV series since the Dolly show in 1987. If you’re like me, you’re thinking, Wow! And also: What the hell was the Dolly show?
I was not watching a lot of TV at that juncture in my life, but Dolly (as distinguished from the 1970s Dolly! show) was ABC’s attempt to revive the variety show, starring Dolly Parton. It ran until the following spring. Which is to say: don’t assume Undercover Boss is an unstoppable hit just yet.
None of this, by the way, is to take away from Parton, who is awesome in any vehicle, however doomed. In the above clip from Dolly, she absolutely kills House of the Rising Sun, despite the cheesy setting and the synth-heavy ’80s backing arrangement.