'The Apprentice' star Donald Trump to NBC: You can't fire me, I quit
By Steve Rogers, 05/20/2007
Rather than give NBC the chance to formally cancel his fading The Apprentice reality series and fire him, Donald Trump has reportedly told the network he's "moving on" and quitting the one-time smash-hit but now ratings-challenged reality series.
Last Monday, NBC unveiled a 2007-2008 primetime programming schedule that didn't include The Apprentice, which aired its sixth season finale in late April. However, according to the network that didn't mean that it had decided to cancel the Trump reality show.
"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 planned on revisiting what to do with The Apprentice once the rest of the five major broadcast networks had announced their schedules later in the week.
"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."
However according to a statement Trump's The Trump Organization (which also owns the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants that NBC broadcasts) released late Friday, that business isn't going to include additional The Apprentice editions.
"[Mr. Trump has informed NBC he's] moving on from The Apprentice to a major new TV venture," the statement said, according to Reuters. "It looks like viewers will have to wait to see what Mr. Trump plans for the future. But if Mr. Trump's past TV success is any indication of the future, then one can anticipate that millions of Apprentice fans will be migrating to his new venture."
NBC had no immediate comment on the Trump statement, according to Reuters. Nor was Trump willing to elaborate on his "new venture."
"So you're quitting... doesn't that make you a loser?," Trump asked Sorro when -- after learning that her team had lost the task she had led them on -- she announced her intention to "resign" from the reality competition. "[You're quitting because] you know you're in serious trouble," Trump told Sorro when she attempted to justify her decision to quit the competition before Trump could fire her.
"You're doing something that when you look back on your life, I think that you will not be proud of... [and] when I give speeches on success and speeches on motivation, the second point I make is never, ever give up, never quit. You can never been successful if you quit," Trump lectured Sorro. "If I were you, I'd rather be fired, to be honest, rather than quit, I hate the concept, I hate what you're doing with quitting. Me, I don't care, you make my job easier, but the fact is that I hate that you're going to be living with that for a long time, I just thing it's a mistake for yourself."
Apparently the boastful Trump only "hates the concept" when he's not the one doing the quitting.
"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 in late April. "If you look honestly at the numbers, even on a Sunday, with all sorts of [programming] disadvantages... we're still beating The Black Donnellys, Studio 60 and Friday Night Lights."
"I have no idea what NBC is going to do [with The Apprentice] and I haven't heard a peep about it. They're still within their option time," Burnett told the Post. "But I speak to Donald Trump all the time and we're surprised we're doing as well as we're doing. In the end, network TV is about selling advertising, and I can guarantee you, if you ask anyone at NBC ad sales, it's a fact that they can sell The Apprentice to higher demos."
Last summer, Variety reported that Trump was starting his own television production company and teaming with reality producer R.J. Cutler to create a reality show based on Hasbro's Monopoly board game, however no further information about the project has since been reported.
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