Roto-Rooter prez says he really unclogged drains on next ‘Undercover Boss’

Workers across the country have united to turn “Undercover Boss” into one of the Top 5 most-watched shows of the season.

Sunday night’s episode of the surprise hit reality series drew 16.1 million viewers, putting it behind only “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars” in popularity.

Roto-Rooter president and COO Rick Arquilla — star of the next episode — says that speculation that the series is fixed is totally unwarranted.

Even though the series had premiered by the time cameras started rolling at Roto-Rooter, “There wasn’t any discussion amongst the frontline people that I worked with, on camera or off, that this feels like that ‘Undercover Boss’ show,” Arquilla says.

“Did I really get to go undercover, and did we really pull it off? Yeah.”

Arquilla says that the series’ producers — not Roto-Rooter management — were in charge of picking which workers he would be interacting with.

“We pretty much said, ‘Hey, we’re coast-to-coast. Tell us where you think you might want to go and we’ll do what we can to arrange it,” he says. “It was really their call.”

The executives also don’t have any say on which of their undercover activities make it on air.

Arquilla says that his segments were filmed in New Orleans, Des Moines, Chicago and Roto-Rooter HQ in Cincinnati. With no previous experience, he did everything including “rooting up junk” from sewer lines and welding Roto-Rooter machines to running fiberoptic cameras and working at a dispatch call center.

But, the funniest — and most disgusting — bit may end up being when he pumped a grease trap.

“It makes sewer cleaning seem like a walk in the park,” Arquilla says. “It was like an out-of-body experience: ‘I am not really doing this, I am not listening to the production team dry heaving as I’m doing this.’

“But I emptied the trap and didn’t yak, so I deserve some kind of an award,” he jokes.

Despite his grand experience with reality TV, Arquilla says that he isn’t planning a repeat performance.

“I don’t know how good I am at my regular job, but if you compare being an undercover boss with being president and COO,” he says, “I think I better stay very focused on this president thing.”

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