NBC reviving non-celebrity version of Donald Trump's 'The Apprentice'
By Reality TV World staff, 03/17/2010
Donald Trump's repeated boasts that NBC has been considering reviving The Apprentice's non-celebrity version have finally come true.
NBC has announced that it has ordered a new edition of original version of The Apprentice.
"The Apprentice is a proven brand, and we believe its return is more relevant than ever since it will provide new hope for many Americans struggling in this difficult job market," NBC reality chief Paul Telegdy said.
"I am very excited to return to the original premise of The Apprentice," Trump added. "We've got to do something about the economy and this is a terrific way to provide jobs as well as business lessons along the way."
"NBC, Mark Burnett and I hope this economic downturn can begin a turnaround, and we'll do our best with The Apprentice to see that it starts happening."
Despite the attempt to tie its revival to the current economic recession, the employed, unemployed and yet-to-be employed will all be eligible to apply for the new The Apprentice edition -- which will be the show's seventh non-celebrity edition and follow three years of annual The Celebrity Apprentice editions, the most recent of which just premiered this past Sunday.
"The Celebrity Apprentice continues to be great TV while doing genuine good for charities... [but] millions of Americans have lost their jobs, millions of Americans have accepted jobs they don't like and millions of Americans are about to leave school looking for a job," The Apprentice executive producer Mark Burnett said.
"This year's Apprentice will feature a cast selected from these three areas. And even though only one will win the prize, all other contestants will get Donald Trump's personal advice to help them find their dream jobs."
Trump first began boasting about a seventh edition of The Apprentice's non-celebrity edition before NBC even canceled the format.
The next spring, the parties got into a two-month public feud when The Apprentice's ongoing ratings decline caused NBC to leave the show off its 2007-2008 schedule and Trump responded by publicly proclaiming he was "moving on" and quitting the show.
NBC reiterated it was undecided on what do with The Apprentice -- The Apprentice: Los Angeles edition had averaged only 7.49 million viewers, which didn't rank it among the 2006-2007 season's Top 100 shows among total viewers -- and asked for an extension on the network's seventh-season option.
Trump began regularly boasting about possible return of The Apprentice's original format shortly afterward.
"NBC actually is thinking of doing The Apprentice and [The] Celebrity Apprentice together in one season," he toldThe New York Post early last year.
Trump had hinted at the format's possible return during a media conference call about The Celebrity Apprentice's third edition early this month.
"We get this question more than any other question: 'When are we going to bring back the regular Apprentice?' Because it did very well and then we just switched to Celebrity but we didn't do it for any particular reason," he told reporters. "The regular one did so well and you saw that... I can tell you NBC is thinking about it; certainly they're very strongly thinking about it."
"A lot of people want us to bring back the regular Apprentice -- keep The Celebrity Apprentice but also bring back the regular -- so that ultimately is a decision that NBC will make. But I think more than any other question I get asked is 'When are they going to bring back the regular Apprentice?'"
"We could do even [do] as an example where I get them a job with somebody else that I know, because I have a lot of friends and have lots of people with jobs," he added later. "A lot of people are looking at regular Apprentice because it really works in, maybe with a different spin than when we started when the [financial] markets were very strong."
During the call, Trump blamed the ratings decline of the original edition's later seasons -- which he still spun as having done "very nicely in the ratings" -- on his lack of involvement in the casting process, which he considered "very instrumental."
"I will say, after the first three shows I was so busy, I became so busy because through acquisitions that I was not able to be involved in the casting. And I wasn't in love with the casting for the last couple of regular [editions] -- they did very nicely in the ratings but I was not in love with the casting of the last few regular Apprentice shows," he said.
"I realized that was a huge mistake for me because I was very instrumental in the casting. And then all of a sudden you get so busy with very, very big deals that are very important that I couldn't go to -- all of a sudden I have a cast that I never saw before and I go there and I say well, you know, I wasn't exactly thrilled. I'm not speaking about any individual I'm just saying overall I wasn't thrilled with the casting for the last few regular Apprentice."
Trump pledged to fix the problem if the format returned.
"I guarantee you one thing, if they do bring it back I will be totally involved with the casting," he said. "If you look at the casting of [Seasons] 1 and 2 in particular and the casting, you know, to a lesser extent of [Season] 3 but I was really involved with [Seasons] 1 and 2. And I will be very involved if they bring back regular Apprentice which a lot of people want that to happen, I'd be very involved in the casting again."
A nationwide casting call tour for the new edition will be announced soon, according to NBC. Burnett, Trump, Page Feldman and Eden Gaha will executive produce the edition.