Looking to get a jump on the fall television season by rolling out its schedule in the weeks immediately following the conclusion of its August Summer Olympics coverage, NBC has announced that The Apprentice 2, the sequel to its hit reality competition series starring Donald Trump, will premiere Thursday, September 9.

The special 90-minute premiere will air from 8:30-10:00PM ET/PT, after the highly anticipated premiere of Joey, the network's Matt LeBlanc-lead spinoff of Friends. Apprentice 2 will be the third NBC fall reality series to debut, following the Monday, August 30 premiere of Fear Factor (which will launch the NBC fall season) and Last Comic Standing 3's Tuesday, August 31 premiere.

In addition to featuring the return of Donald Trump, his associates Caroline Kepcher and George Ross, and eighteen new contestants (an increase from the original season's sixteen), Apprentice 2 will also see the return of first season Apprentice winner Bill Rancic, who will substitute for George during two of the episodes.

During last weekend's Television Critics Association Press Tour, Bill told the media that despite his status as a former contestant, he was even harder on his would-be successors than The Donald's longtime right hand man. "They thought I was on their side," he joked. "You know what? I think I had a higher level of expectations from them because I was there and I walked in their shoes. So I was surprisingly very demanding."

According to George, the contestants agreed with Bill's assessment. "One of the comments I heard is that Bill filled in and I looked like a pussycat, so that should give you an idea," he told reporters.

While NBC and Apprentice producer are remaining tight-lipped about the upcoming season, numerous details have leaked out, with second season challenges to include higher profile corporate placement, including challenges involving Mattel toys and Crest toothpaste. Additionally, according to Reality TV World tipsters, Apprentice 2 will also feature new spins on old challenges, including the sale of gellato, more home renovations (this time in Franklin Square on Long Island), and an on-air QVC shopping channel product sales appearance filmed in late May, during which gender-split teams once again competed. (Highlight below if you wish to know which team reportedly won.)

The women's team, tasked with selling a cleaning set, sold more than the men's group, which was tasked with selling a panini maker. Producers took the unusual step of removing all the guests names from the production records, but the video tape lives on....