'The Apprentice' star Donald Trump: NBC wants to do another season
By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 05/30/2007
Donald Trump had some hurt feelings when NBC shunned his The Apprentice reality series by leaving it off its 2007-2008 primetime programming schedule, causing the real-estate mogul to claim he was "moving on" from NBC before he could officially be fired. However now that reports that, should NBC actually decide to order it, The Donald is contractually obligated to appear in a seventh The Apprentice season and can't quit have emerged, Trump has apparently decided to go back to re-embracing the idea of another season.
"NBC wants to do another season, a seventh season of The Apprentice. And, you know, I've had so much fun. It became the number one show on television. It's been terrific," said Trump as a guest on Tuesday night's broadcast of CNN's Larry King Live.
NBC unveiled its 2007-2008 primetime programming schedule in mid-May, and it didn't include a seventh installment of The Apprentice -- however according to the network -- that didn't mean that it had decided to cancel Trump's reality show. But that didn't stop Trump's The Trump Organization from issuing a statement declaring that The Donald was "moving on from The Apprentice to a major new TV venture." Following Trump's statement, NBC reiterated it was undecided on what do with The Apprentice and reports that Trump is still under contract to return for the show's seventh season should it get picked up emerged.
Prior to Trump's "moving on" statement, The Apprentice executive producer Mark Burnett had also boasted that he would take the show or its star to another network if NBC decided not to order a seventh edition -- a possibility Trump also hinted at during his Larry King Live appearance.
"NBC just doesn't seem to have... well, I'm looking at something else and other networks really want me to do something," Trump told King. "But as you know, I'm one of the largest real estate developers in the world and that really is something that I love. So, we'll see what happens. But a lot of networks want me to do something. I'll let you know over the next few weeks."
During his conversation with King, Trump -- presumably aware that NBC had just announced that NBC Entertainment Kevin Reilly would be leaving the company and it had hired reality TV producer Ben Silverman (who actually previously produced NBC's The Restaurant reality series with Burnett) to serve as the company's new entertainment head -- also passed the blame as to why The Apprentice's Spring 2007 installment faded in the ratings.
"You know, the problem is NBC does have -- and I love the guys at NBC -- but there's such turmoil with the management, with the lack of lead-ins," Trump told King. "[The Apprentice: Los Angeles] had a lead-in this year of [Grease: You're the One That I Want]. [The Apprentice] was moved to four different slots. They should have just simply left it on Thursday, but they wanted to create a comedy Thursday. So they took The Apprentice, which was really a powerful show, and they put it all over the place. They thought it was easily moved because it's so successful that it would, you know, easily follow."
After pointing his billion-dollar finger at a poor lead-in; a switch in time slots from Thursday to Sunday; and to a lack of leadership at NBC as to reasoning why The Apprentice: Los Angeles didn't do so well, Trump then discounted his own argument with the delusional claim that the sixth installment of the reality competition series was still must-see-TV.
"Despite that, it did very well," Trump told King. "It won the evening, as you know, recently on the finale."
While The Apprentice: Los Angeles'live one-hour finale on Sunday, April 22 at 10PM ET may have ranked No. 1 in its time period in the Adults 18-49, Adults 18-34 and Adults 25-54 demographics, it only achieved a 3.2/8 rating/share and 8 million total viewers -- numbers that fell well short of the figures that ABC's Desperate Housewives and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition broadcasts both delivered earlier in the same night.
Throughout its 13-episode run, The Apprentice's sixth installment averaged 7.49 million total viewers, a figure that ranks it 101th in the 2006-2007 primetime broadcast television season's season-to-date overall viewers rankings.
At least Trump offered NBC his own remedy on how to boost lackluster The Apprentice ratings.
"Frankly, lead-in is a very important thing," he explained to King. "You see American Idol, when [Fox has] a lead-in of American Idol, any show they put after it seems to do well."
Of course, according to one of Trump's earlier pronouncements, NBC had already renewedThe Apprentice for a seventh season nearly a year ago. "NBC called me and said they are picking up No. 7," Trump told Daily Variety in June 2006.