The Apprentice was an American reality television program that judges the business skills of a group of contestants. It has run in various formats across fifteen seasons since January 2004 on NBC. The Apprentice was created by British-born American television producer Mark Burnett. Billed as The Ultimate Job Interview, the show features fourteen to eighteen business people who compete over the course of a season, with usually one contestant eliminated per episode. Contestants are split into two .
• • • • External links The Apprentice was created by British-born American television producer . Billed as "The Ultimate Job Interview," the show features fourteen to eighteen business people who compete over the course of a season, with usually one contestant eliminated per episode.
Contestants are split into two "corporations" (teams), with one member from each volunteering as a project manager on each new task. The corporations complete business-related tasks such as selling products, raising money for charity, or creating an advertising campaign, with one corporation selected as the winner based on objective measures and subjective opinions of the host and his advisors who monitor the teams' performance on tasks.
The losing corporation attends a boardroom meeting with the show's host and their advisors to break down why they lost and determine who contributed the least to the team.
Episodes ended with the host eliminating one contestant from the competition, with the words "You're fired!" Seven of the show's seasons featured aspiring, but otherwise unknown, businesspersons who would vie for the show's prize, a one-year $250,000 starting contract to promote one of Donald Trump's properties.
There have also been eight seasons of since 2008. In this format, several celebrities would participate to win money for their chosen charities, with the final prize being a large donation to the celebrity's charity and the title of "Apprentice". A of this format, , aired in January 2017.
The U.S. series originated a collectively known as , which has had over 20 local versions. Real estate tycoon (and now U.S. President) was the show's host for the first fourteen seasons. After he declared his , NBC announced that actor and former would become the new host of , starting January 2017. Lifestyle mogul hosted the one-season spin-off in 2005. The Apprentice is a game show featuring season-long competitions.
Each season begins with a new group of contestants vying to earn a place in one of the organizations run by the host. The contestants (who are referred to as "candidates") have come from business backgrounds in various enterprises, the backgrounds including real estate, accounting, restaurant management, management consulting, sales and marketing. During the show, the contestants live in a communal dwelling, a "penthouse suite", in New York City (save for Season 6 which took place in Los Angeles).
The candidates are divided into two teams, treated as "corporations" within the show. These corporations select a name they are subsequently referred to through the rest of the show.
Each week, the teams are assigned a task and required to select one of their members to lead the team as "project manager", who is to take responsibility for organizing the team and making executive decisions. Tasks are generally business oriented and tend to highlight one of several business skills. Tasks most commonly revolve around sales (selling the most items or earning the most money) and marketing (producing a specific marketing material or campaign that is judged by a company's executives).
During the tasks, the teams are usually visited by one of the host's "advisors" for that week. Tasks typically lasted for one or two days. After the completion of the task, the teams meet with the host and his two advisers in "the ". Boardroom meetings generally proceed in three stages.
In the preliminary stage, all of the remaining candidates on both teams gather in the boardroom to be briefed on the task by the host and his advisors. Team members are asked about how the task went and whether there were any strong or weak players. Teams are sometimes asked to comment on materials or products produced by the opposing team. At the end of this stage, the host or his advisors reveal the results of the task and announce which team was the winner.
The winning team wins a reward (usually a unique, luxurious experience) and are excused from the boardroom while the losing team returns to the boardroom for an elimination. In later seasons, winning teams have been permitted to view the next stage of the boardroom on the TV in their suite. The entire losing team remains in the boardroom and are confronted with their loss. They are interrogated as to the reasons for their loss and which players contributed to it or failed at the task.
Then, for the final stage of the boardroom meeting, the project manager is asked to select a certain number of teammates (typically two, but on occasion one or three) to bring back into the final-stage boardroom meeting. The remaining teammates return to the suite while the project manager and the selected teammates step out of the boardroom momentarily so the host can consult with his advisors. Upon returning to the boardroom for the final stage, the host and his advisors continue interrogating the remaining players about their loss.
The project manager is sometimes further interrogated about his or her choice of teammates to bring back into the boardroom. Ultimately, at least one project manager and/or remaining teammate is "fired" at the host's discretion, and leaves the show.
The host has broad discretion to fire candidates outside of this usual process, including firing multiple candidates at a time. The eliminated contestants are shown leaving the boardroom with their luggage and entering a taxi cab, during which they given time to recount on their elimination that is shown over the episode's credits. When only three or four candidates (depending on the season) are left, they are interviewed rather than being assigned a task. Executives from various companies interview the finalists and report their assessments to the host.
Based on the interviews, a "boardroom meeting" and firing take place, leaving two candidates. The final two candidates are then each assigned a different final task. Each is given a support team of previously fired candidates. Final tasks generally require the finalists to organize (to various degrees) an event such as a party or a fundraiser which has multiple planning elements.
In a final boardroom meeting following the final task, the host "hires" one of the two candidates to become his "apprentice", winning the show's prize of a one-year $250,000 starting contract to manage a business project offered by the host.
After recovering from , New York real-estate developer changed his business strategy from borrowing to build and purchase assets, to licensing his name to others. Producer approached Trump about a new television show. Although Trump was skeptical, stating that "was for the bottom-feeders of society", Burnett proposed that Trump appear as himself, a successful businessman with a luxurious lifestyle. The show was co-produced by Burnett and Trump, its first season having aired in early 2004.
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 one-year contract with a starting yearly salary of $250,000. The popularity of the show led to Trump becoming known for his fateful , "You're fired!" and for the emergence of , a "portmanteau of Donald Trump and economics initially spelled ‘Trump-Onomics’ (2004), [which] started out as a bland managerial concept on cable TV, meant to convey the notion that 'impressing the boss' was the only way to 'climb the corporate ladder' (The Apprentice, Season 1)." The opening theme music used on the show is "", a 1973 song by .
For most seasons, the candidates ostensibly live in a communal suite at in . This was originally billed as a penthouse suite, and after boardrooms, candidates were told to "go up" to the suite. However, in reality, the suite and the boardroom (and its elevator lobby) are all purpose-built sets within Trump Tower, all on the same floor. Later seasons of no longer conceal this. The Apprentice was so successful that, according to Trump, he earned $214 million from 14 seasons of the show, plus more from related product licensing as his name as a brand became more valuable.
As the popularity of the series grew, more and more of the tasks began to be tied to specific companies. For example, sales tasks would require a team to take over a brand-name storefront or restaurant and operate it; and marketing tasks would require teams to prepare marketing material (e.g. a jingle or flyer) or campaign for an established company. In later series, the launches of specific products would be tied to the airing of episodes of the series.
Several companies have appeared multiple times on the show. Trump's original advisors were , former Chief Operating Officer and General Manager for the Trump National Golf Club, and , Executive Vice President and Senior Counsel, The Trump Organization. In August 2006, Trump released Kepcher from her duties at the Trump organization saying only that he "wishes her the best." Kepcher also left The Apprentice at that time.
Upon her departure, Trump's daughter, became a regular advisor, though she was not officially billed as a replacement for Kepcher. As the series progressed, the advisors were occasionally substituted on a weekly basis with other advisors including two of Trump's other children, and , as well as past winners of the show and other business executives (typically from the company whose product or service was featured in the episode.
During Trump's tenure, the series frequently featured and promoted his properties, products and brand. Trump's wife was also featured on the series several times including in several tasks that have featured her fashion and cosmetic products.
Ivanka Trump's fashion products have also been featured in tasks. 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 season six, Trump elected to have his newest executive assistant, Andi Rowntree, star in the LA-based show. For the Celebrity Apprentice, Annette Dziamba appeared for the seventh season, and Amanda Miller since the eighth season. Season six, unlike the rest of the series, took place in Los Angeles. The teams resided in a mansion, with the winning team of each challenge occupying the house, and the losing team camping out in tents in the backyard.
On May 14, 2007, the series was left off NBC's schedule, but NBC Entertainment president said he was still in discussions with and Trump. On May 19, 2007, Trump announced that he was "moving on from The Apprentice to a major new TV venture".
On May 22, NBC announced The Apprentice might return next season even though Trump had said he had quit. However, NBC and Trump resolved their differences, and the first season of The Celebrity Apprentice began production shortly thereafter.
On January 17, 2017, Summer Zervos filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump, arising from his statement that she had lied about her allegations of Trump's sexual misconduct toward her. Zervos was a contestant on the of The Apprentice, which filmed in 2005 and aired in 2006. Zervos contacted Trump in 2007, about a job after the show's completion, and he invited her to meet him at .
Zervos said that Trump exhibited aggressive and non-consensual sexual advances during their meeting, kissing her open-mouthed, groping her breasts, and thrusting his genitals on her. Series overview Key: Host Board member Guest board member Contestant Cast The Apprentice also spawned a reality television .
On June 17, 2010, premiered on . The series stars , a former political consultant who in 2004 appeared on the of The Apprentice and in 2008 on the first celebrity edition of the show and also in season 13. Each of the twelve contestants vying for the affections of Manigault-Stallworth were selected by Trump himself.
Martha Stewart See also: On February 2, 2005, NBC announced that they would broadcast the first spin-off from The Apprentice, called The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. The show, which ran from September 21 to December 21, 2005 was hosted by , 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.
At the time, the original Apprentice was airing new seasons in each of the fall and winter, each with declining overall ratings. The Apprentice: Martha Stewart aired on Wednesdays during the same fall season as the fourth season of the original Apprentice (which aired Thursdays).
The Apprentice: Martha Stewart struggled while the original series' fourth season again earned poorer ratings than the previous season. 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. Before Stewart's show ended, Trump and Stewart had a fight over Stewart accusing Trump that he did not want her to have a successful show, that he might have wanted it jinxed.
Trump denied this charge, and both TV stars have not worked together again, and there are no plans for the future. Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of The Apprentice on . Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May .
Season Winner Winner's Project Timeslot Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Ranking Viewers (in millions) Finale Viewers (in millions) Thursday 9:00 pm January 8, 2004 April 15, 2004 7 20.7 28.1 September 9, 2004 December 16, 2004 11 16.1 16.9 Palm Beach Mansion January 20, 2005 May 19, 2005 15 14.0 14.0 Trump Entertainment September 22, 2005 December 15, 2005 38 11.0 12.8 Monday 9:00 pm February 27, 2006 June 5, 2006 51 9.7 11.3 Sunday 10:00 pm January 7, 2007 April 22, 2007 75 7.5 10.6 Brandy Kuentzel VIP Golf Tournament Thursday 10:00 pm September 16, 2010 December 9, 2010 113 4.7 4.5 (Note: Given the show has a sequel TV series known as Celebrity Apprentice , the above chart is continued on the article of the show's follow-up TV series, found under .
Note as well that is included in the above chart given the show reverted to The Apprentice for that season.) The Apprentice was the breakout rookie hit of the 2003–04 U.S.
television season and helped at a time when the network's two long-running successful comedies, and , were ending their series' runs. The Apprentice filled the void on Thursday nights as NBC held on to the tagline , even though was quickly becoming the most-watched network on Thursday night. Although the series was 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" 3-hour season finale on December 16, 2004.
The audience numbers (11.25 million viewers) 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 steadily declined following the first season.
Originally, NBC aired the of The Apprentice, competing against both immensely popular series, and , just a few weeks before competing against and Cold Case. Whereas winners have been named "executive vice presidents", and given the title of "owner's representative," in actuality, they were employed as publicity spokespeople for the Trump Organization.
Second season winner , on his first day working for Trump, was introduced by his boss to Florida developers working on a Trump-branded condo, the , in , where he was told that he would help promote sales of the building by appearing at promotional events. After Trump began to publicly question whether President was , The Apprentice was criticized for its involvement with Trump. Some people publicly called for NBC to fire Trump from his role on The Apprentice, including former US Congressman .
[ ] Industry media speculated about the extent to which Trump's media comments may have contributed to the show's ratings decline, given how other Trump-associated businesses have suffered since Trump's political campaign began. One (anonymous) Celebrity Apprentice contestant even announced an intention to boycott the May 15 taping of the season seven finale, unless forced by contract to appear.
Following repeated criticisms from Trump, declined to do another season of the Celebrity Apprentice after only one season—although Trump alleged that he was fired.
In 2006, a lawsuit brought by Mark Bethea against the show's producers alleging theft of the original concept was settled on undisclosed terms. Among the lawyers representing Bethea was . At the on May 17, 2005, announced that it had purchased the rights to develop a video game based on The Apprentice. The game was to be released in fall 2005, on the , , and (PC). The Apprentice was released for PC on February 28, 2006. The player chooses a character and is then paired up with one of four former Apprentice contestants, including Omarosa.
The player must perform well in a series of business tasks, played across 18 , to avoid a boardroom confrontation with Donald Trump and his advisors, George Ross and Carolyn Kepcher.
Alex Navarro of rated the game 3 out of 10 and called it a "collection of games that you can play better versions of for free or significantly cheaper elsewhere on the Internet. Not only are these games overly simplistic, they're just not that much fun." Navarro wrote, "Most offensive of all, however, is how cheaply The Apprentice handles its license.
This game presents itself horribly. It looks like it was programmed hastily with Macromedia, with all the characters appearing as weirdly drawn cartoon versions of themselves." Navarro also criticized the game's audio clips of Donald Trump, and its short length, noting that the entire game could be completed in 20 minutes.
On February 6, 2007, Legacy announced a new game, The Apprentice: Los Angeles, to be released online and in retail stores during the show's sixth season. The Apprentice: Los Angeles was released on May 1, 2007. The player must serve customers throughout the game's 40 levels, set in four locations. Depending on the player's success throughout the game, the player receives praise and criticism from Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump.
Jim Squries of gave the game three and a half stars out of five, and praised the "bright" and "colorful" graphics, as well as the "smooth" controls and diverse gameplay. Squries wrote, "Ultimately, the only disappointment to be found in The Apprentice is the slightly shoddy handling of parts of the license. Trump's audio clips are brief and sound like they were recorded in a tin shack, while the team-based aspects of the show could've been played up more to create additional appeal for fans of the show." • The interviewed more than twenty people who had worked on The Apprentice for an article.
The group included contestants, editors and crew members who described commonly hearing offensive and sexist comments, such as Trump talking about which women he wanted to have sex with, and rating "female contestants by the size of their breasts." • Hibberd, James (September 14, 2015). . Entertainment Weekly. from the original on January 8, 2017. • Lawrence, Derek. . Entertainment Weekly. from the original on June 9, 2016 . Retrieved June 8, 2016. • ^ (January 19, 2017).
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Retrieved January 19, 2017. • ^ . . Associated Press. October 14, 2016. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown () • Stuart, Tessa (October 14, 2016). . . from the original on September 13, 2017. • , , April 12, 2004. Retrieved July 11, 2010. • Woodman, Tenley (June 17, 2010). . . from the original on June 26, 2010 . Retrieved July 13, 2010. • . Archived from on September 30, 2007 .
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THR calls nearly every advertiser on the show; most offer "no comment" or no returned call when asked if they plan to continue supporting the increasingly controversial star of NBC's show. Groupon’s decision last week to from the Celebrity Apprentice website in the aftermath of what many believe to be racially tinged political comments made by star Donald Trump has not initiated the chain reaction of sponsors deserting the NBC show that some expected.
The Hollywood Reporter contacted nearly all of the companies that have recently aired advertisements on the long-running reality competition series. While many declined to comment on their ad buying or did not return phone calls, a handful clarified their plans.
One of the show’s advertisers, Dean Foods, said that a campaign it ran for its Alta Dena dairy products brand had long been set to conclude after the Sunday episode of Celebrity Apprentice, and that its plans were not altered because of Trump’s controversial statements.
“There were no plans to renew to begin with,” said Jamaison Schuler, spokesman for Dean. Another advertiser, Lowe’s, which has spots scheduled to run during the show’s May 15 episode and its May 22 season finale, will continue its advertising run as planned, according to a company spokesman.
Lowe’s -- like many other companies -- does not purchase media on a per-show basis; the spots were part of a larger network buy. Celebrity Apprentice advertisers Allstate, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble declined to comment on their future advertising plans.
Others did not respond to phone calls and e-mails. Mainstream critics, including David Letterman, Cher and Jerry Seinfeld, have labeled Trump a racist or expressed discomfort over his comments, which have centered on questioning President Obama’s status as a natural-born citizen. Also, last week, Bob Schieffer of CBS Evening News branded Trump’s comments an noting that Trump has also questioned Obama’s admission to Harvard Law School. Trump, who is for the Republican presidential nomination, has made headlines in recent weeks by repeatedly questioning whether Obama was born in the U.S.
Obama settled the matter with the release of his longform birth certificate April 27. Despite having no factual basis, segments of the so-called “birther” movement, which argues that Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and therefore cannot serve as president under Article Two of the Constitution, continue to push the issue.
Their efforts have sparked outrage among many, and certainly in the African American community. At Saturday’s both Obama and Saturday Night Live comic Seth Meyers skewered the real estate mogul, who was in attendance. Analyst Brad Adgate of Horizon Media said in an e-mail that because Groupon is not a “blue chip marketer,” its decision isn’t likely to influence other companies.
And unlike Glenn Beck, whose Fox News show began to lose advertisers in the wake of comments perceived by some to be racist, Adgate doesn’t believe others will follow suit. “Since Trump’s comments were not said on the program, advertisers will have the ability to separate between Celebrity Apprentice and Trump the possible presidential candidate,” Adgate said.
(NBC is a client of Horizon, but Adgate does not work with the company.) Celebrity Apprentice has averaged nearly 9 million viewers this season, performing somewhat well on a ratings-challenged network. The show does better in the advertiser-beloved 18-49 demographic, averaging a 3.2 rating. Still, Trump’s “birther” comments have opened the floodgates to allegations of racism. Some commentators have noted that The Apprentice, currently in its 11th cycle (including non-celebrity editions) has portrayed black women in a negative light.
And Salon April 28 that the federal government sued Trump’s real estate company in the 1970s accusing it of discriminating against black renters. Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange, an African American political advocacy group, said that Trump has used his TV show as a platform, allowing him to “hold press conferences and race-bait.” The group has yet to decide whether it will take a stance on the Celebrity Apprentice advertising issue.
“We do believe that companies have a responsibility to consider what type of shows and what type of people they are elevating and supporting,” Robinson said. Groupon, the discount shopping website, made its decision to pull its online advertisements after customers — spurred on by progressive advocacy group ThinkProgress -- complained.
Media Matters for America, another progressive advocacy and research group and a key force behind the Glenn Beck boycotts, told THR that it did not plan to call for advertisers to shun Celebrity Apprentice. NBC declined to comment and a spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately return calls seeking comment. What follows is a list (in alphabetical order) of 35 other companies and brands that have recently advertised on Celebrity Apprentice, either on television or online.
The companies did not immediately return calls seeking comment. -- 7UP -- Applebee’s -- AT&T -- Buitoni -- Canada Dry -- Capital One -- Cheetos -- Citi -- Farouk Systems -- Ford -- Hometown Buffet -- Home Depot -- Hyundai -- JCPenney -- Jell-O -- Kay Jewelers -- Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats -- KFC -- LG -- Lincoln -- L'Oreal -- Lysol -- Macy’s -- McDonald’s -- Nationwide Insurance -- Ocean Spray -- Panasonic -- Pepsi -- Samsung -- Stouffers -- Subway -- T-Mobile -- Visa -- Wendy’s -- Yoplait Email: Daniel.Miller@thr.com Twitter: Marisa Guthrie, Georg Szalai and Lindsay Powers in New York contributed to this report.
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