Thursday, December 2, 2010
R.I.P. "The Apprentice"...Likely, but Hope Not
Photos property of NBC
I'm watching the next to final episode of this season's The Apprentice, and I'm sad. The show has returned to original form, by having average people from the business and legal communities come together to compete for a job at the Trump Organization. The past few seasons, the show has put on celebrity editions. Although the celebrity editions have been entertaining, they never felt as organic as the original style.
The ratings for this season have not been great. But that's not the only problem The Apprentice has faced during its run. There was an ill-fated Martha Stewart version a few years ago, which almost ruined the brand completely. The first season of Trump's version was so popular that more and more of the challenges were corporate-sponsored challenges, which also hurt the original spirit of the show. The celebrity editions of The Apprentice always turn into, "I'm a celebrity. Let me call my rich friends to come over and give us money."
But this year, things were different. The competitors were severely affected by the recession. The challenges were more organic - selling ice cream on the street, making an office space "green," etc - and even the ones that had corporate sponsors weren't in your face about it. I've really enjoyed it.
However, I don't think it will happen again. Like I said, the ratings were abysmal. There has been no indication of this, but there's really no reason to have another season of "regular-people Apprentice." If this show, with an angle - desperate people desperately competing for a job, can't draw in viewers, no future version of "regular-people Apprentice" likely will. In a few months, a new celebrity edition will debut, and it will be interesting to see how it performs.
I always wanted to be on the show. I even almost tried out, getting in line for an audition in Oklahoma City during law school. The line was long and it was rainy, so my friends and I didn't stay for the audition. But like I said, I've enjoyed The Apprentice very much, and will miss it if it goes.