Before I get to the column, a programming note (cue cheesy elevator music!)
Due some changes in the 411BLACK staff, Mr. Coogan’s Weekend Groove Tube Update will now be electronically published every Monday and therefore, will be appropriately renamed:
Mr. Coogan’s MONDAY Groove Tube Update
Since Monday is a popular day for 411mania, I am excited for the shift and thankful to my faithful webmaster, Widro and BLACK Editor, Daniels for making it happen
And now .on with the show!
* * * * *
OPENING CREDITS: Quotes of the Week
Because I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it
For 15 consecutive weeks, loyal “The Apprentice” viewers heard “You’re fired!” when a contestant from the show did a poor enough job that required he/she to leave the competition. Well, we heard this newest phrase once and we won’t hear it again until the end of “The Apprentice 2,” so it may become a yearly event of sorts .Donald Trump told “The Apprentice” winner, Bill Rancic
Bill, you’re hired!
* * * * *
Because I think THIS PART is real cool
While Bill became the first “The Apprentice” winner and will step into a plush job managing the building of a Trump skyscraper in Chicago, the final “loser” Kwame Jackson isn’t much of a loser after all and technology billionaire and the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban. Not only has the owner offered Kwame a job, but he pointed out that he probably made out BETTER THAN Bill. I love this series of quotes:
I told him (at a party in his honor the night of the broadcast) I would definitely hire him to evaluate the business proposals I get every day that I can’t get to. And potentially run a business.
Working for Mark Cuban not bad at all! But wait, he’s not done
He knows that he was the lucky one by coming in second. Bill gets up and goes to work on a construction job. Kwame gets to be the celebrity, have a great time and look over all the options he has. I told him to take his time, have fun and decide what he wants to do. We can talk more and if he wants a job, I have one for him.
Mark Cuban ALWAYS makes sense!
* * * * *
Quality “The Real World” analysis
Entertainment Weekly‘s Josh Wolk is back with another doozy summing up the primary storyline in the latest episode of MTV’s “The Real World.” Something tells me, Josh doesn’t have much of an opinion of Brad’s intelligence
We began as the housemates decided to go drinking. (Gee, I guess the library was closed!) Brad met a woman, Jackie, who he had a great deal in common with: They both liked discussing what bars they’d just been to. ”Oh my God, you like puking in trash cans so you don’t have to wait for a toilet stall? I love that too!” But the eerie similarities didn’t end there: They both liked fast cars AND motorcycles! What are the odds that two people with the same wildly disparate interests would meet up? That’s like discovering someone who loves french fries AND tater tots. Propose now, Brad, this is kismet!
He’s got a point
TV HEADLINES: A heaping amount of reality TV news, with a dash of Mel Gibson and a sprinkle of Nick and Jessica
A Britney reality show? Yeah I could see the appeal
Leading off the television news geared towards reality genre this week comes from the Britney Spears camp. Just in case the 22-year-old pop music sensation and international celebrity wasn’t popular enough and hadn’t invaded enough realms of popular culture (music, movies, books, various videos and MTV specials), it appears that her people are shopping a reality television series to the networks. The recording of the show will be in conjunction with the European leg of her latest tour according to multiple sources including the Reuters news service.
The news reports state that Britney wants to bring a digital camcorder with her in Europe, record “life on tour” and also secure a significant amount of footage of the tour’s dancers, many of whom will be seeing Europe for the first time. From there, Britney will narrate the series and it will be turned into a six separate episodes for whichever network decides to accept it. The stories state that no one has bitten on the offer yet, but if anyone does, they will have to negotiate quickly since this part of the tour starts April 26th.
I’m actually a bit surprised that none of the broadcast networks have jumped on a series like this, especially with the “dog days of summer” rapidly approaching and the networks looking to start programming year round. I’m not sure how much longer Britney will be the queen of the music industry and the ruler of all popular culture texts, especially if she continues to experience this level of media saturation. However, while she essentially is a goddess, she might as well take advantage of it and continue to reap the benefits of what has unofficially evolved into “Britney Spears, Inc.” She should take advantage and so should the broadcast networks. It isn’t every day that the non-MTV/VH-1/E! networks of the world get access to such a popular musical figure. Whether or not they will jump at the opportunity will probably be determined over the next couple of weeks
Spike TV found a Joe AND a Jane Schmo?!?
Last year’s Spike TV reality/mock-reality show, “The Joe Schmo Show” turned out to be ratings gold for the “first network for men” securing a surprising 3.6 million viewers for it’s grand finale. That’s when unsuspecting show “contestant” Matt Kennedy Gould found out the joke was on him and the reality TV show he was part of really was just a massive rouse.
Once the show was over, I didn’t think that the producers or the network could POSSIBLY pull off another show like that, primarily because I figured it would be impossible for anyone to TRUST the network when putting together another reality show. The same thing applies to Fox after throwing together “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance” and duping a .woman’s friends and family when it came to marrying a big, ugly, dolt (my apologies to actor Steve Bailey who played that part, but he did come off that way ). How can anyone believe the producers of a new show when it could be completely different from what was originally described?
Well apparently, it’s happened according to a publicity statement posted on TVBarn.com and a news story from Zap2it.
In fact, not only has Spike TV duped a guy, another “Joe Schmo,” but they’ve also fooled a woman, a “Jane Schmo” if you will for Season two the Spike TV sensation, tentatively titled “Joe Schmo 2.” The show is set to debut in June after recently finishing taping. According to the news stories, the second season will feature a significant twist from the first in that instead of mirroring (and parodying) “Survivor,” the show within the show will be titled “Last Chance for Love” and will resemble (and parody) relationship shows like “The Bachelor.” In addition, Ralph Garman, the host of the first “Joe Schmo,” will return and the over-the-top host, except this time he’ll be in disguise playing a smarmy Brit named Derek Newcastle.
The question that begs to be asked here is “Can this work again?” Whether the season finale will draw such a high number for a Spike TV non-WWE program will be remain to be seen. However, the fact that they’ve completely changed the “game” and incorporated additional drama by securing a man and a woman to be on the show within the show raises the stakes. After all, since the actors and producers will have to constantly fool TWO PEOPLE, including a woman, whom I believe will probably be less gullible and more likely to catch on to various inconsistencies if they are accidentally made available. Either way, it should be an interesting experiment with the people involved.
Speaking of reality TV pulling a fast one
Apparently, one of the newest, most popular trends in reality television is making unsuspecting competitors in these made-up contests look like absolute fools by pulling the ultimate practical joke on them. Not only are we going to see a “Joe Schmo 2” on Spike TV, but the WB and “The Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss have come up with a way to torch Fox’s “American Idol” while paying tribute to those without as much “natural talent” like William Hung. That magical combination will come together next month during May sweeps in a show titled “The WB’s Superstar USA.”
Essentially, instead of searching for the next pop music superstar, this particular show weeds out all the good singers and pays tribute to those trying out who are really bad singers but view themselves as really good. In the mean time, the “judges” (including “Vitamin C” and Tone Loc) have to attempt to keep a straight face as they compliment the horrible singers and “advance” them in the “competition.” This is until someone, probably as bad a singer as William Hung, emerges as some sort of pop star hybrid being awarded a $100,000 talent and recording contract after a trip to Hollywood, a makeover and series of dance lessons. So, while the idea is to parody “American Idol,” the result is actually very positive for the eventual “winner.” I’m just wondering exactly when down the line the “winner” will find out that she only won the competition because his/her talent is equal to that of William Hung.
“The WB’s Superstar USA” is another reality show idea that provides the ultimate pay-off for those who are willing to stick around for the duration of the show. In the world of reality television, the best aspect is often when the subject(s) of the show find out that the joke is on him/her(them) and the audience gets to see the obvious shocked, and either dismayed, overjoyed, or even angry reactions. It’s “water cooler” television that doesn’t have to involve story writing that may or many not catch on with an audience. The drama is already built in to a reality show. The satisfaction of seeing the reaction may not last long, but that isn’t necessarily the point. If you wanted to feel it enough to tune in, then the show has done its job.
Then again, it’s the WB. I think it’s built into the television industry that none of their programs can attract more than 10 million viewers. If they do, chances are, that Boston Red Sox/Chicago Cubs World Series will be right around the corner
Another reality “romance” show from NBC
NBC has quietly put together quite a resume of trashy reality television offerings themselves. That network, more popularly known for shows like “Friends” and “Law & Order,” has also aired shows like “Who Wants to Marry My Dad?” (where the grown-up children choose a bride-to-be for their widower father), “For Love or Money” (similar to “The Bachelor” except the winning woman gets to choose the man or a large cash prize), and of course the “Average Joe” trilogy (the two originals and “Adam Returns”). Well, according to Zap2it, the Peacock is going to strike again with another potentially iffy, yet, potentially fascinating offering entitled “The One That Got Way.”
The premise of the show is similar to “The Bachelor” in that it will involve one man, Skipper Kress, a bartender from Charlotte, NC, choosing one of seven women who all share a house. The catch? All seven women were at one time involved with Barbie er Skipper.
Set to air on May 31st in a rare one-night installment rather than spread out over a four to six week season, the show will, according to Executive Producer, Bob Kusbit in a Zap2it article, feature:
all of the ingredients of great reality television — the romance, the arguments, the tears and the gut-wrenching decisions — and plays it all out from beginning to end” in one show.
I have to admit that for a reality show, “The One That Got Away” could be potentially engaging television even if it isn’t as well written as “The Sopranos” or HBO’s newest sensation, “Deadwood.” While the writing may not be as visually enticing, the facts are: the past will be dredged up, feelings will likely be rekindled in some way, shape or fashion (and not necessarily nice, wonderful feelings), people are going to get mad, happy, confused, and even relieved. This is going to crerate some intense drama and will likely be interesting to watch if it’s packaged appropriately.
The one aspect that’s slightly disappointing is that NBC has decided to just package the show as a one episode special instead of taking a slight chance and making a four to six episode season out of it similar to the way the “Average Joe” series have worked out. This, similar to the “Average Joe” series, probably has a relatively short shelf life, but I would think the network would want to take advantage of an idea like this instead of acting so tentative with it. Nonetheless, according to Zap2it, NBC will consider airing future episodes of the show if it works out well enough in the ratings. Either way, it should be a fascinating experiment.
Has Burnett gone too far with his next production??
Last month, the “King of Reality TV,” Mark Burnett (“Survivor” and “The Apprentice”), quietly announced plans to produce another reality show for CBS titled, “Recovered.” The idea of the show is producers will hire independent experts with experience in military and law enforcement to find abducted children. It is unclear if the experts will work in conjunction with local police or if all investigations will be independent of anything “official.” However, it appears that a pilot has been taped and is ready to be aired.
Entertainment trade publication, Variety, and Mike Antonucci of the San Jose Mercury News both published news stories about the show. Antonucci retrieved quotes from several different people including Lindsey Brooks, investigating manager for Child Quest International in Campbell, CA who were vehemently against the show going forward. Brooks had harsh words for Burnett:
The idea for Mark Burnett’s new reality show of snatching children sickens me. These children he plans to recover have already been extremely emotionally damaged by being abducted. Now Burnett wants to exploit them by being on a TV show.
Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was kidnapped from her Petaluma home and murdered in 1993, generously provided Antonucci with some ideas about the potential new show as well. As someone who has been through the pain of having a child kidnap, he told the journalist that he supports the idea of bringing more attention to missing children. However, he added that CBS and Burnett appeared to be developing the show “under a veil of secrecy” instead of immediately bringing attention to the children involved. That suggested to Klaas that Burnett and co. is more concerned with themselves than the missing children.
According to Antonucci, preliminary publicity material has been issued and “describes the program’s concept as taking â€˜viewers along on an emotional and life-changing ride, from the abduction to the search in all its intensity to the reunion of child and parents.'”
The obvious question that needs to be asked is “Do people want to go on that ride?” Antonucci secured a quote from Professor Kevin Stoker of Brigham Young University, who studies media ethics, and he said the show’s premise “strikes me as a new level of voyeurism” and that it raises serious invasion of privacy issues. I love Stoker’s first point about this show being a whole new type of voyeurism. However, it’s one thing to see how people interact with each other on an island when they’re trying to win cash or when they have to take part in a task to see who can earn the most money. As serious as the “competitors” on those shows are as they are going on, the bottom line is that, win or lose, these people can go back to their normal lives. Also, in many cases since they’ve achieved their “15 minutes of fame,” and actually come out in a better situation. The audience can almost take solace in that “Survivor” is just like a professional basketball or football game. While the journey can be long, hard, and arduous and will determine winners and losers, it really is just a game that doesn’t have serious consequences to the participants.
However, it’s a lot different when a family has to go through a tragically serious situation as investigating a violent crime committed against a child. Not only are the television cameras capturing the investigation of a real life crime with real life consequences, they capture the participants’ reactions to the events unfolding. Burnett and CBS will try to pass this off as packaged, dramatic entertainment that is serving an important cause and trying very hard to do a good thing. Whether or not that will alleviate the potential trepidation that will likely be felt by executives, critics, and faithful viewers as they all view the show will be another story.
I wish I could venture a guess as whether or not a show like this could be successful. But, it’s times like these where the American television viewing public confuses the hell out of me. Part of me thinks the American public will say “I’ve had enough! I’m not watching an entertainment show based on kidnapping.” Still, part of me thinks that Burnett and co. will provide enough dramatic entertainment and make the audience comfortable enough to make them want to tune in week after week. He has a knack of hitting the spot with entertaining shows.
Mel wants his TV demands met and something tells me he’ll win.
The Hollywood Reporter noted that Mel Gibson and his production company Icon Productions is already in talks with the television networks to air his powerful (and popular) film, The Passion of the Christ detailing the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ’s life according to the Bible.
As stated by the trade publication, while the movie will likely find a television home at some point considering it’s wide-ranging and immense popularity, it may be more difficult because Gibson wants the movie aired in its entirety and without commercial interruption. Similar to the way Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List was on NBC during the 1990s, this will likely require one company to pay to sponsor the prime-time hogging “event”)
I was going to make some comments and likely start a mammoth debate about the validity of a religious movie in comparison to a historical piece based on a brutally true story. However, I changed my tune fairly significantly this week. Instead, I realized that it’s apparent this particular film has had such a gargantuan effect on millions of people in this country (and to some degree, all over the world), that it should be considered with the same respect afforded to Schindler’s List several years ago. Obviously, the concern is not the movie’s religious content, but rather its insanely violent content that also was accused of being horribly anti-Semitic and only providing a “happy” ending to those who believe Christ was the Messiah.
Whether you believe the story is true or not, the point is many do believe it and spend their entire lives worshipping a God that died in a similar way as to how Gibson described it in his direction. Since that’s true, the story should be told in the way the storyteller meant to tell it. After all, it means so much to so many people
***Nick, Jessica, and their tacky variety show are coming back. – The numbers for MTV show “Newlyweds” stars Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson’s first variety show aired on ABC according to Zap2it: 11.4 million viewers (winning its timeslot and securing a Top 20 rating of all shows during the week) and a handsome 4.7 rating among the desirable 18-49 age demographic.
So, it is really any surprise that the alphabet has scheduled a second variety show special featuring the two for the upcoming Christmas season? The announcement came that another show is in the works and will air at the end of this year.
Is it a Nick and Jessica thing or is it a clamoring for the old variety show format made “popular” in the 1970s? I say it’s a magical combination of both really. After all, I couldn’t see No Doubt beauty, Gwen Stefani and Bush grunge rocker, Gavin Rosdale doing one of these delightfully tacky variety shows and I couldn’t see Nick and Jessica doing a heavy scripted television drama either. So, it’s a perfect combination of their sunny personalities, performing talents, and apparent “lovey-dovey,” G-rated romance and life together (even if 75% of Jessica’s breasts are exposed in the outfits she chooses to wear). Will they ever rival Sonny and Cher? I doubt it, but they are probably the closest thing we have to them right now.
***And “Joey’s” potential love interest will be played by – Ashley Scott. Best known for playing Helena Kyle, the superhero offspring of Batman and Catwoman, in the WB’s “Birds of Prey” (a clunker series that only lasted 13 episodes), Scott has been cast as Joey Tribbiani’s (Matt LeBlanc) neighbor and potential love interest in the upcoming NBC “Friends” spin- off, “Joey.”
It’s evident that the lovely Ms. Scott can hold her own as a love interest for photogenic studs, since she is currently starring in the Rock vehicle and current remake of the 1974 classic, Walking Tall. Will that translate into immediate success in a completely different environment (action movie versus television sitcom)? I don’t know. However, it’s apparent that producers and casting directors see something here, so it will be interesting to see if she and Matt LeBlanc have any sort of chemistry and if people are willing to tune in and endure Joey and a female lead endure some sort of “Ross and Rachel” type connection My money is on “probably.”
***ABC has “Hope & Faith” for seven returning series – Last week, I brought up a report from a television analyst saying that scripted television shows actually INCREASED over a five year period on the broadcast networks, not decreased as the influx of reality television might suggest. Well, part of that increase in scripted shows can probably be traced, at least in part, to ABC who have eight family comedies clogging up the Wednesday and Friday night schedules. While it’s not 100% that all of them will return, ABC did jump the gun on four of them and three unscripted show as well.
The sitcoms picked up for next year are first-year show and Kelly Ripa vehicle “Hope & Faith,” and veterans “My Wife and Kids,” “George Lopez” and “According to Jim” anchored by Damon Wayans, George Lopez and Jim Belushi respectively. In addition, the unscripted shows that got picked up are: “Extreme Makeover,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and the family friendly fan interaction show that I could have sworn was canceled in 1998, “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
***Who’s sticking up for Howard Stern?? – Don’t get me wrong, I love and respect Howard Stern and I love and respect Roger Ebert. They’re both wildly interesting, entertaining, and valuable in their own rights. I just never thought I’d see Roger Ebert write a column STICKING UP FOR Howard Stern Well, here you go!
READER REACTION: There IS a wrestling network?
In last week’s Groove Tune Update, I devoted my “Closing Credits” to the idea of an all wrestling network, an idea I had been thinking about for several years and wrote about once before on Matthew Michaels’s Moodspins.com.
I thought I had an interesting, fresh idea not thought of before. Well, several faithful readers from the U.K. informed me that while the idea may be completely foreign in the United States, a wrestling network recently just got off the ground in England. According to the emails I received and the news stories that accompanied them, while the WWE/WCW/ECW library is noticeably absent from the channel’s lineup, they still have an array of quality programming for the diehard and casual wrestling fans alike including the Ring of Honor, the NWA: TNA lineup, and various shows from independent federations in England and some interesting stuff from Japan and Mexico.
In looking at the lineup, this is exactly what I think would work well here in the United States and run by Vince McMahon, except much heavier on the WWE/WCW/ECW library as to not exclude those who aren’t interested in Mexican or Japanese wrestling. I suppose the English channel could be a good case study to see if something like this could work in a different place before launching it here in the United States.
Actually, before I get to the emails I received, I’ll call out all the readers of the Groove Tube Update from the U.K. to provide frequent updates about the success of the channel and if it’s something you and your friends/family would watch if you had the chance. Maybe someone “influential” will read this column and realize it really could be a great idea. Believe me, this won’t be the last time I write about this subject.
Now, onto the emails about it .
Matt Coates writes:
Great column that I love to read despite being from the UK and not having heard of most of the programs you talk about much less watched them! I just thought I’d chime in on the subject of a wrestling channel, as mentioned in this weeks’ column.
Recently on Sky TV (the satellite network here in the UK) I noticed that a new channel had sprung up called (with amazing originality) The Wrestling Channel. Being a big wrestling fan I went home and took over my parents TV for a weekend in the interests of research. Now I have no idea who runs this channel but they have managed to gather together a great selection of wrestling from around the world. Over the course of a weekend I watched shows from ROH, TNA Worldwide, CMLL (!), NJPW and FWA (a UK wrestling Fed). There wasn’t much in the way of date identification on these shows so I’ve no idea how old they were. Even so, my main point in writing in was that it was awesome to have such a variety of different wrestling all in one place. Like a bit of Lucha? no problem, wait until 4pm. American Indy your thing? Two straight hours coming up. Fat, ugly British guys from the 70s trading hammerlocks for 4 hours? Yes sir! In the UK you can already see (scattered across a few channels admittedly) Raw, SmackDown!, the B and C shows like Velocity and the PPVs (some for free, some to be paid for) so to get a sudden explosion in the amount and variety of wrestling available is like a breath of fresh air.
Of course, I imagine that the legal side of things will be vastly different in the US and would perhaps prevent a channel such as that from even getting off the ground. I would also imagine that an all WWE, all the time channel would get a bit stale. But if, like you say, you bump up the variety, add old and new, add WCW and ECW, add the PPVs documentary and chat I see no reason why a wrestling channel wouldn’t be pretty damn successful.
Thanks for the thoughtful email Matt. The part about the wide array of wrestling available on the network is especially intriguing since the U.K. channel really could attract a variety of people depending on their wrestling likes (and dislikes).
Matt’s also right about a “WWE all the time” channel getting a bit stale. That’s why I suggest airing old WCW and ECW tapes in addition to the independent feds, and the great shows put on in places like Japan and Mexico. I still think it could work.
* * * * *
Carl Connaughton, a Television Buyer with OMD UK writes:
Are you aware that your idea is kind of in operation over here in the U.K.? All be it minus any WCW/WWE activity.
Thanks for the link Carl. That link takes viewers to a news story on Wrestling101.com about the story and runs down some of the details about the network not easily accessible on the PR heavy Wrestling Channel website homepage.
Speaking of that .
* * * * *
Dave Wilson writes:
Just thought you might find this interesting. In the UK, we have a 24- hour wrestling channel now that’s been up and running for several months. You can find the website at www.thewrestlingchannel.tv, but ignore the forums, you’ve never seen more retards in your life there.
That’s a helpful link. Thanks Dave. As you click on the site, you’ll probably notice some fun, interesting stuff, but the relevant information is buried a bit and takes a little while to find. It’s a good site, but in my humble opinion, the wrestling101.com link sums things up much better than the wrestling channel’s actual website. However, there is a decent schedule on the site outlining what shows are on when though and it shows the different types of wrestling they are making available to the public.
Either way, it was an interesting read and I appreciate our British readers taking the time to tell us Americans how good they’ve got it compared to us! JOKE! JOKE!!
CLOSING CREDITS: “The Apprentice” got quite the buzz, didn’t it?
Last week, frequent reader Kurt Dieckmann sent me this great email before the season finale of NBC’s “The Apprentice” aired:
So, you have to be recapping “The Apprentice” this week. This humble reader had to tape it and didn’t get to watch it until this weekend, but damn, whatta good show.
Nick was due to get fired he was all flash and no substance. That made me happy. Seeing Amy get the boot was a bit of a surprise however, the one guy who called her a “Stepford wife” that was classic.
And did I not tell you that Mark Burnett would be bringing back the people who got the boot to somehow judge the remaining few? It may not be Tribal Council per se, but it’s damn close.
I’m real curious to see the finale this week. Not to dis Kwame, but Bill seems to have the better chance of winning or at least impressing Donald. He’s got a good education, and he’s got entrepreneurial spirit. Kwame’s got a good pedigree from Harvard, but not a lot of experience. Plus, he actively chose the shittiest people to be on his team PlasterHead, Smoky McTrailerPark, and the guy who he’s ridiculously infatuated with. Bill’s team has three of the final 4 contestants my coin’s on him.
The big question is how does last week’s situation with Omarosa reflect on her outside of the show? The world now knows that she’s a bald-face lying bitch if she was working for a company you were looking to hire, wouldn’t this weigh heavily on your mind? She may claim that the whole thing was heavily edited and it didn’t happen that way, but she’d be lying again.
Looking forward to Thursday!
Thanks very much for the long email A few responses about Kurt’s email and the show in general
** What made this show so damn popular with the viewing audience? While I don’t want to necessarily speak for all of America, I do think there’s a three-pronged answer to that question. First, as different as “The Apprentice” is to shows like “The Bachelor” and “Survivor,” there are still some of the typical reality show elements including the drama that not only exists between individual contestants, but also between the two teams that would compete every week. While it was fun and interesting to see the cat fights between team members, it’s equally fun and interesting to see the competition aspect between the two teams as if it was your favorite baseball or football team playing your dreaded rival. So, not only is there an element of voyeurism as the viewers can peak in on the drama between teammates, but that also exists in the way the contestants would strategize in winning specific tasks as well. The show provided multiple levels of voyeurism and therefore presented multiple levels of interest.
Second, “The Apprentice” appealed to a much different audience than a lot of reality television. As CNBC noted, it reaches a richer audience since the median income is around $66,000, a significantly high number. Also, considering the business aspect of the show whether it be selling Trump Ice bottled water or renting a Trump owned apartment, it appealed to a whole new type of audience: the successful business man/woman. Since “The Apprentice” was reaching this entirely new audience, the show became required viewing at business schools across the country. Some experts view that as laughable, but in many cases it was true and cannot be dismissed as foolish. After all, how many other reality shows were required viewing in a non-television related class? I can’t think of too many
Finally, I think part of it comes down to “The Donald” otherwise known as real estate tycoon and expert businessman, Donald Trump. I think the man has some sort of strange appeal about him in that people want to know what he’s doing, what kind of luxurious project he’s working on, and what he has to say. The same way people were fascinated with the life of luxury when watching “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” in the 1980s and early 1990s and are fascinated when watching shows like MTV’s “Cribs,” people are fascinated by a man like Trump who oozes riches and luxury in addition to a ruthless business sense. Some would argue he is the embodiment of the capitalistic system that we, as Americans, hold so dear. While Trump didn’t grow up with “nothing” (he lived modestly as a kid in New York City), he was able to make it big in the 1980s and probably could be labeled as a great symbol of the materialistic decade represented in movies like American Psycho. So, when Trump does something and people get an idea of what it’s like to be him or to be successful like him, or to be rich like him, they take notice, even if it’s in a daydreaming “What is it like to be Donald Trump?” kind of sense.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean it would be easy to look at a person who is a fan of “The Apprentice” and say “He is a fan because ” However, I do think there are several reasons why a myriad of different people were interested in this show.
**In regards to the last show, I don’t really want to “recap” the show too much primarily because I believe my description really couldn’t do the show justice and recaps are probably all over the Internet anyway. Essentially, after Nick and Amy were fired in the episode that aired April 8th after the interviews with some of Trump’s executives, that left Kwame and Bill to fight it out and become the big man’s first “Apprentice.” At that point, Kwame was assigned to run a Jessica Simpson concert in Atlantic City and Bill was assigned to run a charity golf event at a course Trump owns in Westchester County, New York. To make it more interesting and to help out the two finalists, Trump brought back several other finalists including the dreaded Omarosa, Troy, Nick, Amy, Heidi, and Katrina to work as “employees” for Kwame and Bill. The end of the April 8th episode and the bulk of the April 15 finale basically followed the two finalists as they planned the event and dealt with some of the inevitable mistakes and “hiccups” that would come up. In the end, everything worked out and both events went quite well.
However, “the Donald” had to decide who would be the winner, so he consulted each finalist’s “employees” and also his two executives that have been around for the entire season, Caroline and George to make the final decision.
Eventually, when the “live part” came up, Trump cited Kwame’s tendency to be too laid back and his failure to fire Omarosa when it was obvious she was incompetent as a worker (Whether or not her idiocy was done on purpose, we’ll never know but it certainly was evident ) and decided to hire Bill.
I saw several interesting points about the last show. First, if I’m not mistaken, the final two segments that were aired live actually came from Studio 8A at Rockefeller Center where “Saturday Night Live” tapes all of its shows. That seemed like a fun bit of trivia to me. Second, Trump re-established himself as a spectacular businessman but it’s evident he’s not much of a television personality. When he appears at the beginning of episodes to explain tasks and at the end to fire people, he’s fine. However, the way he carried the last two segments of the finale was nothing short of atrocious. It was evident he was reading cue cards in the first segment and when he was interviewing all the returning contestants to see what they were doing, he came off as cold, uncaring, and completely clueless of what was being said to him. People like Regis and Kelly thrive as talk show hosts because they at least put on the faÃ§ade of caring, interested parties as they interview people who come on the show. Trump did none of those things, pretty much cementing the fact that he should never get his own talk show.
Finally, if there was one aspect of “The Apprentice” that is much better than its prime reality show competition, “American Idol” is that the show is PACKED with interesting, relevant action to the show’s outcomes and the stories being told. The last show was two hours long, but it went by quickly because every segment had something going on that kept the audience interest. This is significantly different from “American Idol” which generally does a terrible job of “filling” their shows with interesting and relevant content to keep the shows worth watching. The drama is unnecessarily built up and the dramatic pauses that host, Ryan Seacrest employs when announcing winners are bordering on tacky and annoying as opposed to interesting and gripping. “The Apprentice” producers generally avoid such nonsense and keep the action flowing and that was evident in the final episode.
**What about Season 2? If I am Mark Burnett, Donald Trump, and NBC, I would do one of two things to capitalize on the show’s wild success. First, I would consider doing what Burnett has already done with “Survivor” and produce two independent seasons, one in the fall and one in the spring. This will keep things fresh and avoid a long, extended competition especially important for those contestants who don’t want to be away from their families for an extended period of time. The other idea I had involved taking one season, extending it and running it from (late) September until the second or third week in April (similar to this season). They could increase the number of contestants to 20 and in some cases extend the completion of tasks over two episodes increasing the number of episodes to the 25-30 range instead of under 20. Factoring in weeks off and repeats of certain episodes, the season could be extended for about six months allowing the ultimate “You’re hired!” payoff to come less often and likely generate more PR for Burnett, Trump, and the network. The obvious concern is whether or not people would get bored with a show that carries on for twice as long as the current version. I’d like to see anyway
**In regards to Kurt’s email, I think he brings up some good points and he ended up being right on the money when he picked Bill would come out victorious instead of Kwame. I am usually a pretty laid back guy like Kwame is, so that was refreshing to see, but in the end I do think that Bill’s performance at the golf tournament, combined with his practical experience, and his good sense not to pick Omarosa to be on his team allowed him to come out as the big winner of the show. However, Mark Cuban had a good point about Kwame. Bill will be going to work on a construction job while Kwame gets to sit back and mull his options since he’ll be getting more job offers that he knows what to do with. Sometimes, when you lose, you actually win
Kurt also brought up Omarosa, everyone’s favorite reality villain. Not only did she come off as a bitch on the final show, but she came off like an incompetent bitch to boot. Will it affect her standing on the “outside world?” Honestly, I doubt it. I still think she’ll be viewed as a strong African-American woman and will likely be able to go in any direction she wants to go in now that the experience of this first season is over. Besides, a big part of me still thinks that her “performance” on the last show, was just that, not from a business point of view, but an acting perspective instead. Even if it wasn’t, she probably knows she came off looking foolish and would likely tell potential employers it was all an act anyway. I also think that we’ll be seeing her again next season on “The Apprentice” in some way, shape, or fashion whether we like it or not. Either way, she’ll be fine
Or will she?
Well, it will be fun to find out either way!
In the mean time
Enjoy the show!