You're fired! No, really

Issue section: 

Since December 2007, 5 million US workers have been thrown into unemployment, with 8.5 percent of the country without work. Depressing news - unless you are a TV exec.

Endemol, the brains - although perhaps not the heart - behind Big Brother, has launched a new US reality show for these difficult times: Someone's Gotta Go!

Each show focuses on a struggling small business where redundancies are on the cards. Workers are then pitted against one another, with the wage books opened up and employees fighting it out over whose pay should be cut. The entertainment reaches a crescendo when the workforce votes on which of their colleagues should be thrown onto the dole.

"For a lot of [bosses], it takes the pressure off them," said Endemol's North American director, David Goldberg. "As a boss myself, I don't want to have to make those decisions. It's safe to say it hasn't been difficult to find companies willing to participate."