NBC announces 'The Apprentice 6' won't premiere until January 2007
By Reality TV World staff, 05/15/2006
One year after announcing that it would air two The Apprentice editions on its Fall 2005 schedule, NBC has unveiled a completely Apprentice-less Fall 2006 schedule.
Instead, The Apprentice's sixth Donald Trump edition will be held back until January 2007, where it will air Sundays at 9PM ET/PT and serve as the anchor of NBC's post-Sunday Night Football lineup (after a thirty-five year run on ABC, Monday Night Football will be moving to ESPN and, for all practical purposes, be replaced by NBC's new Sunday Night Football beginning this fall.)
Joining The Apprentice in NBC's post-football Sunday night lineup will be a second season of America's Got Talent, the new Simon Cowell-created and Regis Philbin -hosted reality talent competition that the network will premiere this summer, and Raines, a quirky new police drama starring Jeff Goldblum.
If NBC's scheduling announcement seems familiar to reality TV viewers, it should. ABC used a similar scheduling strategy -- right down to move to a post-football season time period -- for this past season's edition of The Bachelor, ABC's own once dominant but long since overexposed reality franchise.
Last May, after airing three The Bachelor and The Bachelorette editions (back then, one of ABC's few hits) during each of the last three primetime television seasons, ABC announced that rather than include the fading reality franchise on its Fall 2005 schedule, it would give the series a fall hiatus with the hope that a few months off would help rejuvenate its sagging ratings.
Instead, The Bachelor's eighth edition was held back until January 2006, where it was intended to anchor ABC's post-Monday Night Football Monday night lineup. Although ABC's decision to yank its Heather Graham and John Stamos sitcoms after only one broadcast resulted in a repeat of The Bachelor: Paris' own previous week's episode frequently serving as its lead-in, the show still performed fairly well and experienced enough of a ratings rebound that ABC will reportedly include it on the 2006-2007 primetime schedule that it will reveal on Tuesday.
Ironically, Reality TV World had cited the overexposure risk that NBC was taking with last fall's simultaneous broadcast of Donald Trump and Martha Stewart-led The Apprentice series in our May 2005 article about The Bachelor's hiatus announcement. Predictably, airing both Apprentice editions at the same time appeared to burn out the reality franchise, resulting in Trump and Stewart publicly blaming each other for their show's ratings problems and NBC moving the currently airing fifth edition of Trump's Apprentice program to its present lower profile Monday night time period.
When it returns in January 2007, The Apprentice will also share something else in common with The Bachelor -- similar to The Bachelor's move to Paris, The Apprentice's post-hiatus edition will also have been filmed in a new location intended to help shake up the series. Late last year, NBC announced that The Apprentice's sixth Donald Trump edition will film in Los Angeles, making it the first edition to not film in the New York City area.