After a disappointing sixth season and its omission from future NBC schedules, it looked like Donald Trump’s reality show The Apprentice had been fired. Then-network Entertainment President Kevin Reilly made it clear that wasn’t the case and NBC was still discussing the possibility of bringing the show back. Trump subsequently announced that he wouldn’t be back as host but NBC made it clear he was contractually obligated to return to the series until his contract ran out in June. Reilly left the network and new co-chair of NBC entertainment Ben Silverman asked series creator Mark Burnett and Trump to give the network some additional time to make up their minds. Well, it appears the wait is over and The Apprentice will be returning for a seventh season, this time with a twist.
NBC announced today that The Apprentice will returning to airwaves midseason on NBC. The seventh season will be a “celebrity edition” with all celebrity entrepreneurs and the winner’s cash prize going to a charity of their choice. Silverman says that there will only be 13 episodes this season to limit the time commitment of the participants. Season six’s lackluster performance also likely played a part in the decision.
Silverman said he originally approached Burnett and Trump with the idea. Thought Trump was all for it, Burnett was reluctant, having avoided celebrity versions of his other shows. Silverman ultimately convinced Burnett that “now is the time.”
Of the new season, Silverman says, “It’s always good to be in business with Mark Burnett and Donald Trump. I am so excited to offer viewers what promises to be the most explosive version of The Apprentice that anyone has seen.”
Trump added, “The success of The Apprentice has been a great experience for me. I look forward to working with Ben, NBC and Mark, the best team in television. I believe that celebrity Apprentice will bring our wonderful show to new heights.”
The list of celebrity participants will be announced at a later date but Silverman said he immediately called the cast of NBC’s sitcom The Office. Apparently the idea of actors who play office workers on television competing with business tasks in real life was appealing.
One celebrity you won’t be seeing in the boardroom is Rosie O’Donnell. Trump asked NBC to extend an invitation to his “old sparring partner” to be a contestant. No doubt “the Donald” would love to be able to fire the outspoken Rosie on national TV. Though O’Donnell is a big supporter of many charities, her spokeswoman Cindi Berger said, “It will never happen in this lifetime or beyond.” The former talkshow host is however in talks with NBC about other possible projects. Stay tuned!