Former 'Apprentice' contestant Ereka Vetrini fired in 'Tony Danza Show' shakeup
By Reality TV World staff, 07/06/2005
For the second time in as many years, former The Apprentice contestant Ereka Vetrini has heard the famous Donald Trump phrase that no person (assuming they're not on CBS's horrible Fire Me... Please series) wants to hear -- "you're fired."
After first denying that there had been a shakeup, Buena Vista Television confirmed yesterday that Vetrini, who has served as Tony Danza's sidekick during the freshman season of The Tony Danza Show daytime talk show, will not return for the show's second season. Also caught up in the shakeup were producer John Redmann and supervising producer Shane Farley, both of whom will also not return.
Danza is reportedly unhappy about the production company's decisions. His spokeswoman told Broadcasting & Cable that he was "sad to see them go" and thought that the fired staffers had done "a very good job."
Danza representative Jill Fritzo was more blunt in a statement to the New York Post. "Like most people who work for a large corporation in this country, you don't have much to say about these decisions. Tony felt everyone did a good job last year, but, unfortunately, the company felt in order to make the show successful, they had to make these changes."
According to an anonymous Post source, Danza is "furious" and "extremely upset" about the shakeup. "He loved Ereka and both of the producers," the source told the paper. "He fought for all of them -- but Buena Vista didn't care."
Despite renewing the show for a second season, Buena Vista is reportedly been less than satisfied with Danza's show and rumored to be in negotiations to have a Gloria Estefan-hosted program replace Danza's series in its 2006-2007 lineup. According to The Post, the Buena Vista executives who first commissioned The Tony Danza Show are no longer with the company and their replacements have lost faith in the series.
Vetrini was the eighth contestant to be fired during The Apprentice's initial season that aired in early 2004. So far there's no word about the former corporate consultant's future plans. She and longtime boyfriend Randy Burkholder announced their engagement back in May.