'The Apprentice' not part of NBC's 2007-08 lineup, future still uncertain
By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 05/14/2007
A seventh edition of Donald Trump's sagging The Apprentice reality series was not included in the 2007-2008 primetime programming schedule that NBC formally unveiled on Monday. However, according to the network, that doesn't mean it has decided to fire Trump and cancel his one-time smash-hit but now ratings-challenged reality series.
"We haven't made a decision [yet]," NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly told reporters in a press conference that proceeded the network's Monday afternoon "upfront" presentation of its 2007-08 primetime lineup to advertisers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Donald [Trump] still wants to do it, [The Apprentice executive producer] Mark [Burnett] wants to do it."
Reilly said NBC plans on revisiting what to do with The Apprentice following this week's upfront presentations, according to The Reporter, with the possibility of a spot in the 2007-2008 programming schedule being cleared to house a seventh season of the series. (NBC, ABC, CBS, The CW, and Fox are all unveiling their Fall 2007 lineups to advertisers during this week's "upfront" presentations.)
"We couldn't find the right spot for it. So we're going to regroup after everybody announces their schedule. We're going to look at everything in context and then make a decision about it," Reilly said, according to Reuters.
"The show still has some kick in it," Reilly told reporters, according to The Orlando Sentinel. Reilly also acknowledged that if The Apprentice cannot find a home, that doesn't necessarily mean there's no place for The Donald at NBC.
"We want to stay in business in Donald with whatever form it takes, the guy has a certain magic," Reilly said, according to The Reporter. "The Apprentice [is] not dead yet," Reilly added, according to Broadcasting & Cable.
"Donald's been declared dead before in many ways," Reilly told reporters, according to Daily Variety. "It's news he'll never accept on any front. He's unbelievable -- still pitching away and still good to go. We love him and want to stay in business with him."
While Trump would much rather continue telling The Apprentice applicants "You're fired!" than hear it himself from NBC, Burnett recently declared he plans to take the show to another network if NBC decides not to order a seventh edition.
"If you think I'm going to let The Apprentice end -- even if it's not on NBC -- that's not going to happen. Donald Trump is too big of a name," Burnett told the New York Post late last month.
Last June, Trump announced that NBC had already renewedThe Apprentice for a seventh season however NBC never formally confirmed Trump's claim. The pronouncement appears to have just been more false boasting from Trump, who despite the continuing ratings decline of his show's last several editions, has continued to make comments alleging he has "the No. 1 show on television."
This winter's recently concludedThe Apprentice: Los Angeles edition averaged 7.49 million overall viewers during its 13-episode run, a figure that currently ranks 100th in the 2006-2007 primetime broadcast television season's season-to-date overall viewers rankings.