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The Apprentice

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DOWN TO BUSINESS: Reality guru Mark Burnett is slated to begin production
today on The Apprentice, a New York-based reality series that is being
described as Survivor set in the business world. The show -- which stars
Donald Trump -- is slated to debut in February on NBC.

Amazing all the ideas that Mark Burnett comes up with eh?  This one might be a tricky one. ::)

slow news day ::)..the Apprentice has a site up..    ?

This actually looks good?? Well at least a fill in untill
8:30/7:30pm Thursday, January 8th

Episode 2, Regular Night/Time
8/7pm Wednesday, January 14th

In a bold new reality series that tests competitors' survival techniques in New York City's corporate jungle, NBC and executive producer Mark Burnett (“Survivor”) will team up for "The Apprentice," a 15-episode series in which candidates vie for the chance to become an "apprentice" to a "master." During the first season of "The Apprentice," legendary business tycoon Donald Trump will serve as the "master" and his business empire, The Trump Organization, will be the hub of the competition.

In the series' concept, approximately 16 candidates from all walks of life, including both Ivy League MBA graduates and street entrepreneurs with no college education, will endure rigorous selection as they are tested for their intelligence, chutzpah and street-smarts. They will face the challenges of living together in close quarters, must complete 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.

Candidates not completing the job assignment successfully will meet face to face with Trump after each round of competition, enduring a grueling interview session with Trump and some of his key executives. Each week Trump will fire one candidate from the contest. In the season’s final episode, one promising and ambitious person will emerge supreme and will win the chance for the dream job of a lifetime with the Trump Organization.

Burnett is the Emmy Award-winning executive producer of “Survivor” and “Eco-Challenge.” Burnett’s entrepreneurial spirit inspired the birth of the reality “unscripted” drama series, garnered skyrocketing ratings and introduced millions of Americans to an entirely different television genre. Burnett is partnering with Reveille and Magna Global Entertainment to produce NBC’s “The Restaurant,” which will be broadcast this summer.

“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.


    Trump Seeks an 'Apprentice' to Share His Edifice Complex

By Jacqueline Cutler
"This is the real jungle," Donald Trump says from behind his desk, gesturing at Manhattan's skyline.
Who should know better than the king of this jungle, New York's business world? Trump, never known to shy away from cameras, stars in reality show impresario Mark Burnett's latest creation, "The Apprentice." It premieres Thursday, Jan. 8, on NBC, in a 90-minute show before moving to its regular time slot on Wednesday, Jan. 14.

As would behoove two men who deal in superlatives, "The Apprentice" had some 215,000 applicants, more than any show in television history, according to NBC. These contestants want more than what reality shows dangle before players -- love, sex and money. They want power.

Whether any of them have what it takes to earn or seize power remains to be seen. The big payoff is a one-year job with a serious title -- president of a division in the Trump Organization -- and a salary of $250,000. The live finale of the 15-episode show airs in April. As of now, even Trump is not certain who wins.

Trump, always the businessman, was non-committal about the winner's future. "It's a one-year job and at the end of the year, we'll see what happens," he says.

Once the nearly quarter of a million hopefuls were culled to 16 contestants, Trump became involved. And, he is involved in each step. He divided the contestants into two teams, men vs. women. They lived in a Trump loft in midtown, while the show taped.

In the first episode, the contestants meet at the New York Stock Exchange and Trump gives them their first task: Operate a lemonade stand. This may sound like child's play, but the object of the task is simple: Turn a profit. Earning money, however, is not always easy.

Another task involves renovating and leasing a Manhattan apartment, one of which Trump owns.

"Each [task] is about how much money they can make each week," Burnett says from Los Angeles prior to boarding a plane to an undisclosed location for the next edition of "Survivor."

Other tasks have the diverse contestants launching a brand of bottled water and getting it into restaurants, and operating bicycle rickshaws in Manhattan. At the completion of each task, the winning team is awarded a lavish prize and someone from the losing team is fired.

Trump personally gives people the boot. He looks unusually comfortable, in a brief clips tape, saying, "You are fired." In his office, however, Trump appears more subdued than his public persona. Firing employees is "part of life," he says. "It's not nice. There are some people who love firing people, but they are sickos."

Trump and Burnett independently rave about the intelligence of the contestants who range from street-smart hustlers to Harvard MBA alumni.

"These people are truly brilliant," Trump says. "The toughest thing was choosing between two super geniuses. They went through hell and did an amazing job." Still, Trump concedes, "Sometimes, I was amazed that someone with a 215 IQ would do amazingly stupid things."

As usual with Burnett, he did not allow contestants to talk with the press. The tape of them shows Type-A personalities intent on victory, at any price. And, some young women dress like the wrong sort of working girl.

Contestants, who range from 21 to 37, include three who work in real estate and several entrepreneurs, including Bill Rancic, 32, of Chicago. He started a cigar business out of a tiny apartment and turned it into a multimillion dollar business. Some are stock brokers and many experienced major gains and losses in the dotcom boom.

Contestants filled out an application that included the question, "Tell us an embarrassing story about yourself." Trump, whose dalliances have been tabloid fodder for years, hemmed and hawed before finally answering that "being turned down by a woman, which happened to me in earlier years," was his most embarrassing predicament.

A more standard question on the application queries contestants about where they hope to be in five years. "I'm more inclined to think I'll be doing what I'm doing," Trump says. "I do it well, and I get a kick out of it."

If viewers get a kick out of "The Apprentice," it could lead to a series, which Burnett envisions. "I am a businessman," Burnett says. "I don't do things for vanity. I do things I think have legs." Trump says he will wait to see how it fares before making any plans.

As tourists snap photos of the indoor waterfall in Trump Tower, Trump reveals why he became involved in this show. "Other networks came to me and wanted to follow me around," he says.

Such unfettered exposure could hurt deals, Trump explains. And if there is one thing Trump understands, it is the art of the deal.

Trump, who changed the skyline he so admires, has his sights set on Chicago and Los Angeles. Photos and articles of him line the walls of his Fifth Avenue office. A billionaire who lives in the city's highest triplex, Trump is well regarded in his hometown.

Still, he has no plans to parlay his fame and fortune into a political career. "I'm too honest," he says.

He is honest enough to admit that he does not watch other reality shows, but met Burnett when a "Survivor" segment was held in Central Park's Wollman Rink, which Trump restored.

For his part, Burnett has long respected Trump. Indeed, he had the idea for this reality show long before "Survivor," and always wanted Trump as its centerpiece.

"I came to this country with nothing and was an entrepreneur," Burnett says. "I made money selling t-shirts on Venice Beach and read Trump's book, 'The Art of the Deal.' He is America's last great tycoon."

If "The Apprentice" succeeds, it could spawn a new crop of tycoons. "They are supposed to be learning a lot during this year," Trump says. "Then they will go out and be very successful people, hopefully billionaires


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