At least that's the way Martha Stewart tells it--she who hosted the poorer cousin of original "Apprentice" this season, "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," both produced by Mark Burnett Productions. Stewart said she was asked to help get rid of Donald Trump, host and co-producer of "The Apprentice," by firing him on-air.
This all sounds like great fun--but not too logical, especially given Trump's larger-than-life personality and huge ego. Still, we're intrigued. Firing a host and producer on-air would take reality shows to a new level: don't wait for the network to suggest cast changes or cancel your show. Do it yourself. On-air.
I'm not crazy about "The Apprentice" shows any longer--and apparently neither are viewers. In its fourth season, the original slipped many millions in viewers; NBC will be moving "The Apprentice" to a tougher Monday night 9 p.m. time slot soon for season five. Stewart's version has done even worse in the ratings, and won't be returning.
Loyal viewers of reality aren't going away. But new stuff better be fresh. Viewers have moved from mean-spirited shows--"The Apprentice" and "Survivor"--to aspirational programs like "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "The Biggest Loser," and "Three Wishes."
Now the tables could be turning again, as viewers yearn for a real-life TV production squabbles: Turn the camera around on the director, the producer, the audio engineer, or the continuity executive.
Stewart suggested someone wanted Trump fired--but didn't identity the person. An NBC executive? Mark Burnett, perhaps? Mark Burnett reportedly said this was suggested at one time.
Of course, Trump isn't pleased. How can you fire the boss anyway? The only way would be for Trump himself to walk off the set live--in effect, fire himself.
Trump and Stewart are seemingly pissed at each other, trading hard-biting comments in the press. Trump wonders in a Newsweek story, "What moron would think you'd fire a guy with the No. 1 show on TV?"
Perhaps the moron who knows "The Apprentice" is not the No. 1 show on TV.