Thursday, June 29, 2006

Apprentice TV Show gets vote of confidence

Donald Trump knows a thing or two about diversifying. So, after shifting the sixth edition of "The Apprentice" from his home base in New York City to Los Angeles, the Donald is scouting locales for the next installment, E! Online reports. Mr. Trump tells Daily Variety that despite flagging ratings, the seventh go-round of his reality series has been greenlighted. "NBC called me and said they are picking up number seven," Mr. Trump told the trade publication. "We may do it in Las Vegas or Miami. We'll make that decision in the next two months." NBC declined comment on the report. Mr. Trump is in Los Angeles working on the sixth cycle of the show, which is slated to run in January. The network's decision to move forward with production on a seventh season would be a vote of confidence for the "Apprentice" franchise, considering the sharp ratings slide the once mighty show has suffered -- losing about 5 million viewers over the past four cycles -- and the fact that NBC hasn't yet aired the sixth season. The future of the show also appeared to be tainted when its touted spinoff, "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," didn't fly. "It wasn't very good, and she wasn't very good," Mr. Trump, 59, told Variety. "This is a very important franchise. [NBC] learned their lesson. They'll never use anyone but Trump." He also says the brand has been tainted by NBC airing multiple cycles during the TV season, which, he says, "is too much to do and it's too much to watch." "Just keep it special," Mr. Trump says. If NBC follows through with the once-per-season broadcast, "The Apprentice 7" might not air until 2008. In any case, the ever humble Mr. Trump is optimistic about the show's future, noting that the fifth season's June 5 finale -- in which he hired Britain's Sean Yazbeck -- ranked No. 2 in the weekly Nielsens.


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