Has NBC fired Donald Trump and The Apprentice? The once popular reality show was conspicuously missing from the network’s new 2007-08 schedule but NBC executives maintain the series has not been cancelled — at least not yet.
Actually, it was reported that NBC committed to a seventh season of The Apprentice back in June 2006. Of course that was before the sixth season ratings — the lowest to date. The first season’s two-hour finale attracted 28 million viewers. The sixth season was rushed and the one-hour finale attracted only eight million The decline seems to have caused ratings-challenged NBC to rethink their earlier greenlight.
The network is reportedly in discussions with both Apprentice creator Mark Burnett and Trump on whether to continue the series and, if so, in what form. NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly confirmed the series is still alive, saying, “Donald still wants to do the show. Mark wants to do the show. We couldn’t find the right spot for it [on the schedule]. So we’re going to regroup after everybody announces their schedule. We’re going to look at everything in context and then make a decision about it. We want to stay in business with Donald in whatever format that will take. The guy has a certain magic. We love him.”
Earlier last month, Burnett said that he still believes in the series and its star. He told the NY Post that if the series is cancelled by NBC, he’ll take it elsewhere. “If you think I’m going to let The Apprentice end… that’s not going to happen. Trump is too big of a name,” Burnett said.
For his part, Trump says that he hasn’t even decided if he wants to do a seventh year. He’ll make a decision in the next few weeks but it generally sounds like he’d like to do it. He recently told the NY Daily News, “The Apprentice has been and continues to be a great experience for me.”
NBC’s option on The Apprentice expires on June 1, 2007 so NBC will have to make their decision in about two weeks. Will the show return to NBC, move to another network or end entirely? Will Trump be fired from the network or quit before he can be pushed? We’ll know for sure in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!