September 10, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

The first season of this reality series — last year’s most watched new program — clearly resonated with Americans, as an average of 17.7 million viewers tuned in to observe various top-dog executives disguise themselves as entry-level employees. As a result of Boss‘ popularity, its producers had to concoct new and imaginative ways to convince suspicious workers that they weren’t being filmed for a hit reality show — but creator Stephen Lambert is not revealing his trade secrets. The show’s success also made it much easier to persuade corporations — including NASCAR, DirecTV, and Chiquita — to participate. ”The bosses do it not because they think it’s great PR,” says Lambert, ”but because they genuinely think it’s one of the most valuable weeks of their working lives.” That sounds like the best PR of all. SEPT. 26 AT 10PM

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