After 215,000 applications, a 16-city recruiting tour and several months of production, NBC has announced that The Apprentice, the network's new reality series that stars Donald Trump and was created by Survivor producer Mark Burnett, will make its super-sized premiere after Friends on January 8 (8:30 - 10:00 PM ET). The following week it will move into its regular timeslot, Wednesdays (8-9 PM ET), beginning January 14.

The Apprentice is a 15-episode unscripted drama in which 16 candidates from all walks of life, including both Ivy League MBA graduates and street entrepreneurs with no college education, will endure rigorous tasks each week while living together in a hip Manhattan loft apartment. The tasks will test their intelligence, chutzpah and street-smarts. They will face the challenges of living in close quarters and must compete sometimes humorous but always difficult job assignments and will be forced to think outside the box in order to outshine each other to get to the top.

Upon their arrival to New York City (some for the very first time), the 16 candidates will be rushed over to Trump Tower to meet with Donald Trump, the centerpiece and driving force of this series. After splitting the group into two teams of eight, Trump then issues the first task. Teams will be given time constraints for each task and they will be observed by either Trump himself or members of his staff at every moment along the way. At the conclusion of each task, the winning team will be granted a lavish reward but the losing team must report immediately to Trump’s boardroom where one of them will be fired.

Tasks each week will incorporate various aspects of business: sales, marketing, promotions, charities, real estate deals, finance, advertising pitches and facilities management. Most of them will be assignments that executives face in their daily lives. The big twist is that our teams are thrown out to the wolves of the New York business world with only a few days to complete incredibly difficult tasks, many of which have hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake. This is the ultimate corporate jungle where staying alive means using both street smarts and book smarts.

The winner of the competition, the true “apprentice” will be granted the dream job of a lifetime with The Trump Organization and a salary of $250,000.

“Choosing Donald Trump as the ‘master’ proved to be one of my best-ever casting decisions,” said Executive Producer, Mark Burnett. “He is an incredible businessman, a captivating television personality and he has become a dear friend. The winner of The Apprentice is going to experience the dream job of a lifetime.”

“With an extremely smart cast for an unscripted drama, Executive Producer Mark Burnett and legendary business tycoon Donald Trump promise to take reality television in a whole new direction with this exciting series,” said Jeff Zucker, NBC Entertainment President.

The Apprentice is produced by Mark Burnett Productions. Mark Burnett is executive producer and is represented by Conrad Riggs who will also serve as a producer on the project.