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The Apprentice 7: A Preview – “He’s Ba-ack!!”by Brian Towers -- 12/18/2007
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Just when you thought a boardroom was a place with closed doors, Donald Trump has opened those doors back up by bringing The Apprentice back from the abyss of cancelled reality TV shows.
It has a long way to come back. Ratings have tanked between Seasons 1 and 6, for a goodly number of reasons. The last season, especially, introduced numerous changes that the majority of fans found disappointing to various degrees. The most recent season changed the setting from New York, it eliminated popular Carolyn and minimalized likeable George, the losing team had to camp outside, then they invited winning project managers into the Boardroom and kept them as project managers until their team lost.
There were also many failures in the areas of execution and presentation in the sixth season. There was far too much emphasis on a silly showmance, the way tasks were accomplished was essentially ignored, some of the firings were highly inexplicable, the final task was by far the lamest ever, and Trump himself began to behave unprofessionally by swearing and over-reacting to minor offenses. A winner evolved who struggled for screen time from day one and never even led a project. Indeed, all the other finalists seemed better suited for the role of Groucho Marx’s Captain Spaulding than that of a captain of industry!
Toss in increasingly unsubtle product placements and the fact that despite the LA location there was a dearth of celebrity guests, and it’s easy to see that the show was a pale shadow of its former glorious self. To make things worse, the show aired on – gasp – Sunday night! Who wants to think about business before Monday even gets here?
But that’s enough lamenting over the sins of yore, let’s take a look at what’s ahead in Season 7.
Changes For Season 7:
Let’s start out by outlining the changes that will hopefully make this season work (including a little spoiler regarding the first episode’s task). After that, I’ll run through the list of celebrity competitors. Yes, I know you’re probably skipping ahead to see the list of names right now – and that’s okay, but remember to come back and read the middle part!
This version of the show is, by necessity, different from previous seasons. The most obvious difference is that the objective of the game is NOT to become Donald Trump’s apprentice! That makes one wonder why they kept the name of the show, but let’s not dwell on that one. The eventual winner will instead win a quarter of a million dollars for their favorite charity.
Charities will also be the benefactors of funds raised by weekly tasks. The NBC press release states that over a million dollars will be raised, so that’s a good thing. The charities will benefit from valuable free publicity as well.
The show has returned to its roots in two ways. First of all, episodes will again air on Thursday evenings. Secondly, the action has returned to New York City, where no one is going to be forced to camp out on the roof of Trump Tower or anywhere else for that matter. Product placements, however, will continue to be seen everywhere.
Boardroom assistance and task observation will again come from The Donald’s two famous offspring – Ivanka and Don Jr., aided on occasion by popular patriarch George Ross. A new twist is the addition of a “rotating seat” on Trump’s side of the Boardroom, to be filled by a series of yet-to-be-named folks NBC identifies as “famous business leaders and industry legends.” It only seems fair that in a celebrity edition of the show, celebrity advisors should also be on hand.
Some tasks will require the celebs to work long and hard hours – without the aid of their personal assistants. Other tasks will necessitate reaching out to their rich, powerful, and/or famous friends for assistance, or even to hit them up for money. But given the egos involved, the biggest obstacles to success will probably be – each other!
The next paragraph is the spoiler about the first episode. If you don’t want to know, skip ahead to the next section. Really, if you care about such things, this is the time to skip ahead!
Okay, you were warned. Here’s the scoop on the first episode. It may indeed be a test of egos as much as a sales event, but the celebs will become street vendors trying to sell hot dogs for several thousand dollars apiece.
This time, the contestants are not fawning and fresh-faced unknowns, armed with MBAs and impressive resumes, all jazzed over the prospect of working for one of Trump’s companies. I’m going to miss the fawning over The Donald almost as much as he will!
Nope, this time fourteen so-called celebrities got the call. I’m sure several of you will be disappointed to learn that neither Martha Stewart nor Rosie O’Donnell will be part of Season 7. Maybe next time?
Allegedly culled from over 125 applicants, the following attention junkies will be striving for a little more face time on our TVs. And here they are:
Trace Adkins is a country music star with several hit albums and singles. I’m not much into country music, so knowing no higher source, I quote from the NBC site: “… known for his imposing physical stature, world-class baritone and bedrock authenticity…” Thank God that was there, because I freely admit I was not going to come up with anything even close to that phrasing!
Carol Alt is one of the first supermodels. She has added minor acting credits to her resume in more recent times, and I remember her in Peter Benchley’s Amazon. Her current passion is the benefits of eating raw foods.
Stephen Baldwin is an actor probably most famous for being “a Baldwin brother.” His best role may have been in the 1995 film “The Usual Suspects,” but my fondest memories of him are when he showed his inability to grasp the blindingly obvious in two seasons of “Celebrity Mole.”
Nadia Comaneci is the Romanian gymnast from the 1976 Olympics (Montréal) who scored a ton of perfect tens that the scoreboards were unequipped to display. Currently, she can be seen on commercials for L'Oreal cosmetics.1 2 Next-->
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