‘Apprentice: Martha Stewart’ Gets Go-Ahead from NBC

Feb 2, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Reality king Mark Burnett, billionaire Donald Trump–who will share executive producer duties–and NBC Universal Television Group Jeffrey Zucker made it official Wednesday: “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” is a go for prime time on NBC. The thousands already lining up to audition for the fourth round of the “The Apprentice” may find themselves competing instead for a position in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

No launch date for the latest “Apprentice” was announced. Mr. Burnett, who has visited Ms. Stewart monthly since she began serving a five-month prison term that resulted from an investigation into charges of insider trading, said production legally could begin during the five months Ms. Stewart is under house arrest after she is released from prison early next month.

Mr. Burnett, who also is producing an hour-long daily show that will bring Ms. Stewart back into syndication in fall 2005, expressed confidence that the notoriously hard-working Ms. Stewart can juggle both shows while reintegrating herself in her multimedia company. “It is very doable,” he said.

Though the “Apprentice” contestants’ tasks will be centered around Ms. Stewart’s areas of expertise (media, home renovation, entertaining, design, merchandising, technology and style), Mr. Burnett stressed that they will be oriented toward the creative, marketing and business skills required to get Ms. Stewart’s products and brand to consumers. “Except as the domestic arts and gardening apply to business,” no such experience is needed to be a Martha Stewart wannabe, male or female, said Mr. Burnett.

“The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” will be “nothing at all like ‘Wickedly Perfect,'” the CBS reality series that debuted on Thursdays last month and has performed so poorly that it has been tucked away on Saturday nights, Mr. Burnett said, adding, “That’s a parody. This will be a success.”

The previously scheduled 27-city casting tour for the fourth Trump installment of “The Apprentice” begins Thursday in New York, Detroit and Houston. The casting tour will conclude Feb. 26 in Orlando, Seattle, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Mo., and Albuquerque.