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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Beach Boardroom Bingo

121806trumps (AP Photo/HO/NBC)

"Survivor" is over. Now it's time to look for the next reality TV addiction. "The Apprentice," perhaps? If you're anything like The Slug — oh, how we hope you're not — you probably gave up on NBC's Trumpfest a few seasons ago. What started out as a juicy reality show quickly dissolved into an hour-long commercial for (INSERT NEW PRODUCT HERE). That's probably why reality mastermind Mark Burnett and real estate mogul Donald Trump decided to transplant the ratings-challenged show from Manhattan to Los Angeles.

Sand! Bikinis! Barefoot Trump! But the move ain't the only change. The Slug took a peek at the first two episodes of the new season, which premieres Jan. 7. It's too early to tell if it's worth reinvesting in "The Apprentice." At least we won't have "Survivor" or "The Amazing Race" to divert our attention (well, until later on, anyway). Here's what else looks different about this round of "The Apprentice."

Opening Credits. The shots of concrete and steel have been replaced with palm trees and Ivanka Trump, The Donald's daughter, who fills the shoes of both Carolyn Kepcher and George Ross in the boardroom. (Don Jr. was nowhere to be seen in the first two episodes but Baby Barron did a cameo.) Also, the O'Jays theme song has been remixed with Trump saying "You're fired." You know, in case you forgot that's his catchphrase.

Suite. Trump Tower has been traded in for some dueling mansions overlooking the valley. One is a gorgeous Spainish-style villa that houses the Trumps and the dreaded boardroom. The other is a stale, modern mansion that will be home to the winning team.The losers sleep in the backyard at the Trump Trailer Park.

Boardroom. It's dark. It's scary. It's covered in leather and wood. It still doesn't have a window. And in a new twist, the winning project manager is granted the privilege of sitting next to the Trumps and questioning the losing team — along with staying on as a project manager until she or he loses.

Assistants. You know George and Carolyn are dunzo. But what Robin and Rona? Nowhere to be seen! Instead, they've been replaced by a blank-eyed blonde named Andie. Trump calls the losing candidates back to the boardroom via intercom during the first episode. Cutbacks at the Trump Organization, perhaps?

Cab Ride. It's kinda hard to catch a cab in the hills so the firees are sent packing down Mulholland Drive in a chauffeured car — during the daytime, not the traditional post-dusk firing time of previous seasons. Guess Trump has to put little Barron to bed these days.



Well said. This ship has sailed long enough. The Trump-kids don't belong in the boardroom any more than their father belongs in primetime.

The new assistant, Andie, seems to have figured out it was a sinking ship. According to her blog she left New York (and Trump) to live in Northern California. Don't know if she quit or was fired but it's up in the air as to whether she'll be on the season finale (filmed live).

The whole idea of putting the losers in tents is ridiculous, and if there were any contestants that I had respect for I would feel bad for them. So far, I have been consistently impressed by the level of nitwit they have on the show.

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