For one final time, and an unprecedented ninth time in a row, The Apprentice 3's Networth team lost the week's task, sending the two-member team back to Donald Trump's boardroom and ending 29-year-old Seattle prosecutor Alex Thomason's attempt to become this season's Apprentice.
NOTE: Due to President Bush’s prime time news conference, many American viewers had to choose between watching Thursday evening reality staples Survivor or The Apprentice, both of which are Mark Burnett Productions that, short of some "supersized" Apprentice overlap, have never competed head to head due to a "gentlemen's agreement" between Burnett and NBC. Given that it is expected that many Apprentice viewers ended up missing the show, please note that as it has done since the show's first season, NBC rebroadcasts The Apprentice on its CNBC cable channel, where last night's episode will be rebroadcast on Friday evening at both 8PM and 11PM ET/PT.
The Apprentice 3's fourteenth episode began with Team Networth, following last week's firing of Bren, consisting solely of Alex. Because of this, the first order of business was balancing out the teams. Having observed the strained business relationship between contestants Kendra Todd and Craig Williams, Alex choose to force them to work together by selecting Tana Goertz to come back to her original team and work with him.
Once the new teams were decided, The Donald presented them with the week's competition. This week's task was to work with artists -- Romero Britto for Team Magna and Burton Morris for Team Networth -- to design a commemorative T-shirt celebrating "50 years of T-shirt culture" for apparel giant Hanes, with the team that was able to make the most profit selling their T-shirts winning the task. Because of her background in clothing, Tana became the project manager for Networth, and, as Craig had been the project manager in Magna's previous task, Kendra was selected to be the project manager for her team.
Quickly getting down to business, the high school-educated Tana and college-educated Alex appeared to work well together, brainstorming and initially coming up with some creative ideas to present to their artist who was able to use those to create a nice T-shirt design. However, they then became somewhat sidetracked when Tana, determined to further embellish the T-shirt, focused her attention on obtaining a specific style of rhinestones. Her decision resulted in a lengthy commute to obtain them and a less than ideal application method when she was forced to apply the rhinestones with glue after being unable to locate a vendor of the applicator mechanism that she'd been seeking
Meanwhile, the college-educated Kendra and high school-educated Craig continued to argue about things both large and small, with Kendra -- being the project manager -- using her executive authority to have the final say on most decisions. Despite the team problems, Kendra once again came up with a great idea, this time using the artist's email mailing list to promote the T-shirt to the fans of the artist. With a built-in selection of people who knew and appreciated the artist's work, the idea appeared to give Team Magna a clear advantage heading into the sales day.
On the day of the sale, Team Networth struggled to get people interested in their T-shirts, primarily because few of their customers knew of the artist responsible for their premium-priced item. Meanwhile, with their cross-promotional advertising and focus on the artistic side of the T-shirt, Team Magna was able to produce significantly more sales, although the possibility of a loss still existed when it became obvious that Magna's price point was significantly lower than it likely should have been. However, in the end, Team Magna’s superior marketing strategy won the day, as despite their lower price, the volume of sales generated by their marketing propelled them to an easy victory.
As a reward for their victory, Magna was treated to a Top Gun-style airplane duel dogfight -- a reward that both Kendra and Craig felt very comfortable with as both stated that their fathers had served in the Air Force. In this event, Kendra got the upper hand as she "shot down" Craig, leading her to comment she only needed to take out two more contestants and she would be Trump's next Apprentice.
In the boardroom, Tana and Alex blamed each other for their failure, with each pointing out problems that led to their poor showing on the task. Things looked bleak for Tana when in consultation with George and Carolyn, Tana's lack of "fire" made The Donald's trusted associates question her ability to work within The Trump Organization. Ultimately however, Trump's decision came back to past performance -- and when Alex showed a certain amount of apathy concerning the number of times that he had previously lost, The Donald made the decision to fire him.
With three contestants remaining, The Apprentice 3's team portion has now ended and the Final 3 will now compete as individuals. Next week, the contestants will undergo interviews instead of tasks and the final two contestants being chosen.