The End of ‘The Apprentice’: Trump Goes Out His Own Way

Donald Trump, it seems, does not get cancelled. No, instead Donald Trump is the Canceller. And always will be. After NBC revealed its fall schedule a week ago, there was one show that wasn’t mentioned and yet was left open to discussion. That show was Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, and after series-low ratings and struggles, it was clear that NBC wasn’t going to bring back the series. When even a high-profile feud with Rosie O’Donnell can’t save you, I don’t know what could. As a result, things looked bleak for Trump…so he has emerged to get the final word.

Yahoo News – Donald Trump to NBC: “You can’t fire me, I quit!”

“Donald Trump, whose low-rated reality show “The Apprentice” was left off the new prime-time schedule unveiled this week by NBC, says the network can’t fire him — he quits.

The real estate mogul issued a statement on Friday saying he has informed the U.S. television network he is “moving on from ‘The Apprentice’ to a major new TV venture,” though he declined to elaborate.”

So, with this Trump gets to end things his way. Mind you, no one is actually going to think he wasn’t forced out (If he really wanted to pull this off he would have done this before last week’s upfront presentation and not a week after), but still Trump gets the last word. And, of course, hypes his upcoming television venture (I figure he’s going to try to launch a take-off of America’s Next Top Model looking for some new recruits for Trump Modeling).

It is funny, however, that Trump is the one to put the final nail in the coffin of The Apprentice, because I would argue that it is he who ended the show’s quality as well. The show began with a fairly reputable structure that was actually quite compelling. The show’s tasks weren’t laden with sponsorships, the board rooms were civil and intriguing, and the winner actually seemed like they could work for a major corporation.

Over time most of the show has fallen apart (Tasks are worse, contestants are worse, gimmicks are worse), but I’d place most of the blame on Trump himself. His firing in this past season made absolutely no sense, but that’s all part of the game. What wasn’t part of the game was his own behaviour: he belittled people for almost no reason, and the board rooms became nothing but gigantic ego trips where he all but ignored his much more intelligent daughter Ivanka. In this, the show’s final season, he went too far: it came to the point where an entire team emerged from the board room laughing at the result and how silly it had been. They, the contestants in this process, couldn’t even take him seriously.And that’s the real test of any reality show: it needs to be able to balance that line between ridiculousness and seriousness. One of the criticisms leveled at America’s Next Top Model is that Tyra Banks is herself trying to steal the show, playing things out for drama in idiotic ways. I think that she needs to look at what happened to Donald Trump and learn her lesson. The Apprentice died because people got tired of watching an hour-long ego-driven reality show starring an abrasive personality, and the same could happen to any other reality series that comes along.

I don’t believe that Trump has a chance for success in television; I believe that his ridiculous performance on The Apprentice has cost him any credibility he once had, however small that was.

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Filed under NBC, Reality TV, The Apprentice, Upfronts

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