The Apprentice (U.S. TV series)

The Apprentice (U.S. TV series)

infobox television
show_name = The Apprentice

caption = "The Apprentice" title card
format = Reality
runtime = 60 minutes
creator = Mark Burnett
starring = Donald Trump
(Season 1–present)
opentheme = "For the Love of Money" by The O'Jays (broadcast version only) [ Smith, Scott C. "DVD Review: The Apprentice - Season One";; December 17, 2005] ]
country = USA
network = NBC
first_aired = January 8, 2004
last_aired = present
num_episodes = 104
imdb_id = 0364782
tv_com_id = 20528

"The Apprentice" is an American reality television show hosted by Donald Trump, created by Mark Burnett and broadcast on NBC. Billed as "The Ultimate Job Interview," the show stars sixteen to eighteen businesspeople competing in an elimination-style competition for a one-year, $250,000 starting contract of running one of business magnate Trump's companies.

On May 14, 2007, the series was left off of NBC's schedule but NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said he was still in discussions with Mark Burnett and Trump. [ [ Guthrie, Marisa; "UPFRONT: NBC Unveils Fall Picks";; May 14, 2007] ] However, on May 19, 2007, Trump announced that he was "moving on from "The Apprentice" to a major new TV venture", effectively ending the series in the United States. [ [ Yahoo! News] ] Dead link|date=January 2008 But on May 22, 2007, NBC announced "The Apprentice" might return next season even though Trump had said he quit. [ [ Denhart, Andy; "NBC says The Apprentice could return despite Trump’s quitting"; May 22, 2007] ]

On May 29, 2007, Trump said that NBC wanted a seventh season and he would be returning as the host. [ [ "The Apprentice: Trump Says NBC Wants Him Back";; May 31, 2007] ] On July 6, 2007, it was announced that The Apprentice has been officially renewed for a seventh season with a possibility of an eighth season. [ [ Rocchio, Christopher; Rogers, Steve; "Report: NBC to announce renewal of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice";; July 6, 2007] ] On July 16, 2007, NBC confirmed that the show is renewed for a seventh season to run mid-season. In an effort to revitalize interest in the series, the seventh season will feature celebrities playing the game to raise money for charities. [ [ "NBC Commits to a new celebrity version of "The Apprentice" featuring Donald Trump as celebrity contestants vie to be the best business brain under Trump's Tutelage;; July 16, 2007] ] On January 28 ,2008, NBC confirmed that the show is renewed for an eighth season to start in January 2009 and will feature high profile celebrities playing the game to raise money for charity. [ [ NBC SAYS "YOU'RE HIRED" FOR SECOND SEASON PICK UP OF 'THE CELEBRITY APPRENTICE' AND ANNOUNCES LIVE TWO-HOUR FINALE OF SEASON ONE ON MARCH 27TH AT 9:00 PM-11:00 PM ET ] ]


Each season begins with a group of contestants with backgrounds in various enterprises, typically including real estate, restaurant management, political consulting, sales, and marketing. During the show, these contestants live in a communal penthouse, allowing their relationships to build. In Season 6, however, the teams were separated, with the winning team living in the LA mansion and the losing team taking up residence in tents located in the mansion's backyard. They are placed into teams, and each week are assigned a task and required to select a project manager for the task. The winning team receives a reward, while the losing team faces a boardroom showdown in order to determine which team member should be fired (eliminated from the show).

Elimination proceeds in two stages. In the first stage, all of the losing team's members are confronted. The project manager is asked to select up to three (one, two, or three) of the team members who are believed to be most responsible for the loss. In the second stage, the rest of the team is dismissed, and the project manager and the selected members face a final confrontation in which at least one of the two-to-four is fired.

Trump reserves the right at times to do the following: not allowing the project manager to choose who goes to the boardroom for a final hearing, fire/eliminate any candidate without a final boardroom session if there's enough information to warrant so, and fire multiple people if two or more people are found liable for the weak performance. Trump also reserved the right to fire all candidates inside the boardroom if all candidates performed badly. In season 6, the project manager of the winning team got the opportunity, and was mandated, to sit with Donald in the board room and help make the decision of who from the losing team gets fired. The winning project manager was expected to ask questions and give opinions in the board room during this process.

When the final candidates are left, an interview process begins, involving executives from various companies who interview each of the finalists and report their assessments of them to the host. After that, a firing takes place. In the event four are left, a double firing occurs. Seasons 4-6 were the exception to this rule as Seasons 4-5 foresaw Trump jettisoning the remaining members of a losing team (eliminating the need for interviews), and Trump utilized three pairs of two and a final four for Season 6.

Save Season 6, the final two are then assigned different tasks, along with support teams composed of previously fired candidates. After the tasks are done, a final boardroom occurs, with testimonials from the team members and a last chance for the final two candidates to prove themselves to the target CEO. Finally, Trump hires one of the two candidates to become the apprentice for the season (save Season 6, in which Trump fired two people from the final six to decide the final four, and hires one of the four candidates to be the apprentice). The opening theme music used on the show is "For the Love of Money" by The O'Jays.


The first season aired during the winter and the spring of 2004. "The Apprentice" is produced and created by Mark Burnett and is hosted by real estate magnate, Donald Trump, who also serves as co-producer of the show. The premise of the show, which bills itself as the "ultimate job interview" in the "ultimate jungle," is to conduct a job talent search for a person to head one of Trump's companies. The position starts with an introductory 1-year contract with a starting yearly salary at six figures ($250,000 USD to be exact, roughly about $4807.70 USD per week assuming a 52-week work-year). The show led Trump to become known for his fateful catch phrase, "You're fired!"The contestants live communally in a suite at Trump Tower in Manhattan and the boardroom showdown is with Trump and two of his associates (originally Carolyn Kepcher, Former Chief Operating Officer and General Manager for the Trump National Golf Club, and George H. Ross, Executive Vice President and Senior Counsel, The Trump Organization). Season 6 saw the show move to Los Angeles.

In late August, 2006, Donald Trump released Carolyn Kepcher from her duties at the Trump organization saying only that he "wishes her the best." No official reason has been given for her being fired from the company, but Kepcher was quoted as saying "After 11 years with the Trump Organization, Donald and I had different visions for my future role in the company." Her future role on the Apprentice TV show has not been confirmed, although Kepcher has appeared on tape for the 6th season one or two times. Ivanka Trump appeared in a similar role on the show as Kepcher's, but was not an official replacement. [,26334,1513009,00.html]

Known for his tendency to surround himself with beautiful women, Trump's on-screen (and real-life) assistants have each grown in personal fame. Two assistants appeared jointly for the first five seasons: Rhona Graff and Robin Himmler. In the sixth season, Trump elected to have his newest executive assistant, Andi Rowntree, star in the LA-based show.

A spin-off, "" followed the same concept, with Martha Stewart as the host and eventual employer. It debuted in September 21, 2005, following Stewart's release from prison and home detention. The last episode aired December 21, 2005, but due to dismal ratings, it was not renewed for a second season.

U.S. television ratings

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of "The Apprentice" on NBC.

"Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps."

"The Apprentice" was the breakout rookie hit of the 2003-2004 U.S. television season and helped NBC at a time when the network's two long-running successful comedies, "Friends" and "Frasier", were ending their series' runs. "The Apprentice" filled the void on Thursday nights as NBC held on to the tagline Must See TV, even though CBS was quickly becoming the most-watched network on Thursday night. An example of its cultural influence at the time was a spike in popularity of Tasti D-Lite frozen dessert as a result of its appearance in Season 2, Episode 18.

Although the series is still one of the most-watched programs on NBC in the advertiser-friendly 18–49 age demographic, the franchise's total audience gradually dissolved, starting in late 2004, when it aired its second season that culminated in, what most "Apprentice" fans deem, an "overextended" [cite news|url=|source=Reality Blurred|date=December 20, 2004|title=reality blurred + 16.9 million watch Apprentice 2 finale, fewer than last season’s clip show.] 3-hour season finale on December 16, 2004.

The audience numbers (11.25 million viewers) [cite news|url=|source=Mediaweek|date=June 14, 2006| The Programming Insider] for the June 5, 2006 fifth season finale were not factored in the fifth season average because it aired after the official television season ended.

The audience numbers for the show have still remained on the decline since its first season. Originally, NBC aired the sixth season of "The Apprentice", competing against both immensely-popular series, "Desperate Housewives" and "Cold Case", just a few weeks before competing against "Brothers & Sisters" and "Cold Case".


The chief criticism of the U.S. version of "The Apprentice" is that the challenges often amount to nothing more than commercials and product placements. This became more evident starting from the second season. The companies that have supplied challenges to the show include Planet Hollywood, Lamborghini, Domino's Pizza, Staples, Burger King, Yahoo!, Nestle, Visa, Sony, Home Depot, Walmart, Microsoft, Lexus, and many others. These companies pay NBC to showcase their brands on the show, and usually the challenges revolve around the teams marketing existing or new products for the sponsors [Rebecca Lieb (2005). [ "Apprentice" Advertisers Share Their Numbers] Retrieved Feb. 24 2006] . The show also, of course, provides massive publicity for Donald Trump and the Trump Organization, and the carefully-edited portrayal of Trump is flattering. The second half of the show is usually set entirely in the boardroom, which typically degenerates into finger-pointing and name calling amongst the contestants.

There is also controversy regarding the jobs given to the hired Apprentices. Instead of becoming the CEO of one of Trump's companies, the winners of the show are hired as PR spokesmen for Trump and his brand. For example, Kelly Perdew, winner of the second season and Bill Rancic, the first season's winner, were given the title of 'owner's representative', and were also named executive vice presidents. On Perdew's first day, his boss introduced him to Florida developers working on a Trump-branded condo in Tampa. "Mr. Trump said, 'OK, Kelly, you're going to go help promote sales of the building'," Perdew recalls. []

Another controversy revolves around age discrimination. In January 2007, a class action lawsuit was filed against Trump on behalf of those who did not make the cut for the show due to what they contend was their age.

Sir Alan Sugar, the star of the British version of The Apprentice has criticised it because "they’ve made the fatal error of trying to change things just for the sake of it and it backfired" [ [ Sir Alan Sugar Speaks] ]

Video game

Legacy Interactive created a video game version of "The Apprentice" for the PC. It features Donald Trump and his advisors, as well as past candidates, and is currently available on Yahoo! Games.The player selects either a male or a female character to play and must control the character through a number of tasks including puzzles. The character must create a billboard; sell ice cream, Italian food, or hamburgers; help create toys, chocolates and lamps; and sell items in different neighborhoods.

Martha Stewart

On February 2, 2005, NBC announced that they would broadcast the first spin-off from "The Apprentice", called "". The show, which premiered on September 21, 2005 was hosted by Martha Stewart, who was the first woman in the world to become a self-made billionaire. It kept the format of the original series but changed a few elements to fit Stewart's personality. Trump was one of the executive producers of the show and castings were held in 27 cities across the United States.

The fourth season of "The Apprentice" earned less than spectacular ratings, while "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" struggled. Trump claimed that there was "confusion" between the two shows. There has also been talk that Trump did not want Stewart to host the spin-off show. NBC announced that it would not bring back the show for a second season, although the network stressed that the show was initially planned to air only for one season. The show averaged between six and seven million viewers.

imilar programs

*"The Benefactor", with Mark Cuban of the NBA Dallas Mavericks
*"The Rebel Billionaire", with Richard Branson of the Virgin Group
*"The Law Firm" with Roy Black
*"Fire Me... Please/The Sack Race", where contestants try to get fired from their job
*"My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss", a parody and hoax


External links

* [ The Apprentice Official Podcast and Blog Site]
* [ The Apprentice Official Site on Yahoo!]
* []
* [ Former Apprentice Finalist Blogs about Trump's new Celebrity Edition]
*imdb title|id=0364782|title=The Apprentice
* show|id=20528|title=The Apprentice

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