NBC renews 'Celebrity Apprentice,' first-season finale to air March 27
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/30/2008
NBC has announced it has renewed The Celebrity Apprentice for a second season currently slated to premiere in January 2009.
"This revved up installment of The Apprentice has been a game changer for the series," said NBC executive Craig Plestis. "As the rest of this season unfolds, you just keep watching, these episodes have been more thrilling than any season before... We are blown away by the casts drive, energy, and passion to not only play the game but also to raise a lot of money and awareness for important causes. There's no other show like it to prove your business brain and we are already getting calls from high-profile celebrities who want to challenge themselves in Season 2."
The Celebrity Apprentice's currently airing first installment has averaged 9.3 million total viewers and a 3.9/10 rating/share in the Adults 18-49 demographic in its first four broadcasts.
While those numbers aren't incredibly impressive, they still represent a 13% increase in average total viewers (9.3 million vs. 8.2 million) and a 15% increase among Adults 18-49 (a 3.9 rating vs. a 3.4 rating) over the show's Spring 2007 non-celebrity sixth installment.
"Millions of viewers have spoken and made Celebrity Apprentice the No. 1 show on Thursday nights so far this year," said Trump, failing to thank the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike for helping the show achieve that honor, which will likely come to an end anyway when Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favoritespremieres Thursday, February 7 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.
"Ben Silverman and his team have done a tremendous job and Mark Burnett and I are thrilled to begin an eighth season of this amazingly successful franchise."
The Celebrity Apprentice's second installment will follow a similar format to its current edition. Instead of vying for a job with The Donald, each of the celebrities will be competing to raise more than $1 million in funds for their favorite charities by participating in various business-centered tasks held in New York City.
"Everywhere I go, people come up to me and ask about Celebrity Apprentice. Viewers are clearly connecting, but beyond the terrific ratings, it's really the charities who are winning the most," said Burnett. "Our celebrities have raised over a million dollars to date. We are so glad NBC has decided to continue this franchise."
In addition to the second-season renewal, NBC announced The Celebrity Apprentice's live two-hour finale broadcast will air Thursday, March 27 at 9PM ET/PT.
The live finale broadcast will include The Donald's announcement of the competition's winner and the total amount raised for charity as well as clips from The Celebrity Apprentice's penultimate episode -- where the final two candidates hold a charity auction and manage the different aspects of a concert for a yet-to-be-announced Grammy-nominated music group with the help of some former The Celebrity Apprentice candidates.
The Celebrity Apprentice's first season -- the seventh installment of Donald Trump's reality competition series -- was announced after a two-month public feud that began with NBC leaving the one-time smash-hit but now ratings-challenged reality series off its 2007-2008 schedule and Trump responding by publicly proclaiming that he was "moving on" and quitting the show.
Following Trump's statement, NBC reiterated it was undecided on what do with The Apprentice, at least until Ben Silverman -- a reality television producer who had previously worked with Burnett on NBC's The Restaurant in 2003 -- was suddenly named NBC's new programming chief.
Shortly after taking NBC's programming reigns, Silverman asked Trump and fellow executive producer Mark Burnett for a one-week extension on the network's option to renew The Apprentice for a seventh season. Trump and Burnett agreed to give NBC an additional week, and while the new deadline had passed without a formal announcement, the parties eventually announced plans for a celebrity The Apprentice edition.
Trump has since stated Silverman -- who was reportedly impressed with how well a celebrity version of the show did in Britain -- "loved the idea" of doing a celebrity The Apprentice edition in the States.