Of course, it would be unethical to use humans in such an endeavor. Perhaps uplifted rats could be convinced that rodents ruled the world? They'd need to be able to speak (or develop a squeaky language that could be subtitled), and you'd have to make sure they were taught enough human-like morality not to gross people out, although you could accomplish that with electric shocks and food pellets even if you couldn't actually build in morality genetically.
Once you had a population of intelligent rats living in a little rat city working at probably fake little rat jobs, you could start adding disasters, ala Sim City. It'd be the ultimate reality show -- people would get to know the rats, and feel real emotions when they were really injured or maimed or killed, or otherwise tormented. Of course, you wouldn't want to overdo it, but it'd make a good season finale cliffhanger type deal once a year or so.
Or maybe squirrels instead of rats. The research is further along with rats, but squirrels are cuter.
Whatever you do, don't use bunnies. They're EEEVIL.