NBC’s Outsourced: The Script Doesn’t Cut it


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So, this new Outsourced show hit national television a few weeks back. I NEVER watch network TV unless it’s a sporting event, but this time, I had to jump in and take a gander. It wouldn’t be right if I hadn’t since my opinion of the matter was displayed in my recent write-ups about this very topic (Americans Prefer Americans, and The Verdict is Out). In addition, we spend a lot of time with Outsourcers and it is one of our key target markets. For the first time in probably 10 years, I watched an episode of a network television program. Overall, it was a waste of 44 minutes (2 episodes and skipped the commercials).

My expectation of the show was to get a dual flavor of outsourcing to India as well as a cultural experience. Now, my background with the Indian culture is deep. I spent a lot of time working in companies that are Indian owned and have quite a few friends and neighbors that are from India. So, the topics that this show has brought to light hit home to me; especially the mannerisms that “Outsourced” put on Indians as a whole. In fact, I found some of the stereotyping to be somewhat accurate, but almost to the point of being offensive. In the second episode, they brought the ‘bobblehead’ out as a front and center difference between Indians and Americans. Yes, this was funny and yes, I thought the same thing when I met an Indian for the first time. But, I’m not sure that it is something that a show called “Outsourced” should be focused on. But, then it got me to thinking more about what market is really being targeted for this show. If it’s those of us that are in the call center/outsourcing industry, it’s likely to lose steam fast among our demographic. There are only so many themes a show like this can cover about outsourcing before it dies off. If the target audience is the general public that wants to learn about Indian call centers, it might only confirm that there is a major disconnect (1st episode: caller gets upset that they are talking to some one in India when ordering an American product) between what Americans expect and what an Indian call center can deliver. In the end, it may do more harm than good for companies looking to outsource to India. To me, a few questions still remain: Who does NBC think will watch this show? How many more stereotypes do they have in their back pocket (meek women and food that makes you sick have already been used)?

After two episodes, I cancelled the recording of the series. I just can’t see this show sustaining any kind of ratings over the long term. It’s a one and done show, and I give it 4 more episodes before it’s taken off the air.

Outsourced call centers effect many people in so many ways, but what NBC has put together is pretty boring.

Kevin O'Brien
Kevin possesses a winning track record for transforming small market organizations into large thriving entities. His expertise exists in executive level business strategy for technology and software companies and has been responsible for outcomes that include leading organizational structure and growth, optimizing sales and marketing strategies, and driving the efficiency/effectiveness for entire corporate operations.


  1. I loved this show and I’m sorry they’re cancelling it!

    It was funny, slightly daring without being overtly offensive and left lots of room for story lines in any arena.
    It was also capable of educating the public culturally.
    (As my company’s Diversity Rep. I researched cultural festivals around the world and ran across one I’d already learned about on Outsourced)!


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