In what has to be one of the saddest attempts at cross promotion and potential shark jumping in recent memory, NBC has announced that it will allow home viewers to determine which member of the United States Olympic team competing in Torino will also appear as a candidate on next fall's The Apprentice 6.

Beginning with Friday night's NBC broadcast of the 2006 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony, home viewers will be able to visit and cast their The Apprentice 6 ballots for one of twelve U.S. Olympic team athletes who, should they win the viewer voting, have agreed to compete as a candidate on The Apprentice's sixth season.

"We're thrilled to have an Olympian in our midst," gushed The Apprentice star Donald Trump. "And while we've let the viewers do a hiring...I'm still doing the firing. So we'll let the Games begin this fall."

With NBC having decided to move the upcoming fifth season of his one-time blazing hot reality series to Mondays after three straight seasons of declining ratings (even The Donald doesn't try and claim The Apprentice is the "#1 show" on television anymore), The Apprentice producer Mark Burnett is equally enthusiastic about anything that might help reverse his show's ongoing ratings slide.

"There is no bigger promotional platform than the Olympics," said Burnett. "I'm honored that NBC is utilizing one of its most cherished and powerful assets to help drive buzz for The Apprentice brand. This promotion marks the first time I've ever invited the public to select a cast member for one of my shows. Our 'Olympic' Apprentice coupled with filming in Los Angeles will make for a fantastic sixth season."

The twelve Olympians represent a vary of sports, from skeleton, snowboarding and ice hockey to speed skating and freestyle.

Viewers will be allowed to cast their ballots throughout NBC's seventeen days of Olympics coverage, with voting closing after concludes after NBC's Sunday, February 26 coverage of the Torino Game's Closing Ceremony. Airing in its regular time period, The Apprentice 5 will debut the following night, Monday, February 27 at 9PM ET/PT.

The twelve Olympic athletes that viewers will be able to select from are:

• Allison Baver from Reading, PA (Short Track)

• Travis Cabral from South Lake Tahoe, CA (Freestyle)

• Casey FitzRandolph from Verona, WiI (Speed Skating)

• Todd Hays from Del Rio, TX (Bobsleigh)

• Chad Hedrick from Spring, TX (Speed Skating)
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• Danny Kass from Pompton Plains, N.J. (Snowboarding)

• Joe Pack from Park City, UT (Freestyle)

• Speedy Peterson from Boise, ID (Freestyle)

• Angela Ruggiero from Panorama City, CA (Ice Hockey)

• Katie Uhlaender from Breckenridge, CO (Skeleton)

• Seth Wescott from Farmington, ME (Snowboarding)

• Chris Witty from West Allis, WI (Speed Skating)