NBC rehires 'The Celebrity Apprentice'
Third season of show due in spring 2010
The network announced Wednesday (April 29) that it's picked up the unscripted series for a third season, which will debut in spring 2010. It joins fellow returnees "The Office," "30 Rock," "The Biggest Loser," "Friday Night Lights" and "Law & Order: SVU" on NBC's 2009-10 schedule; the network will announce its full lineup next week.
"'The Celebrity Apprentice' is the ultimate business and reality show at the top of its game and has exploded in popularity this season while also raising an impressive amount of money for charity," says Paul Telegdy, NBC's head of unscripted programming. "It's a valuable franchise and proven competitor."
"Exploded in popularity" is a bit of an overstatement for the show; its ratings are actually down some this season, from 9.8 million viewers and a 4.0 rating among adults 18-49 last year to 8.6 million and 3.5 in 2009. Those are still decent numbers, though, and as it tends to build over the course of its two hours on Sunday nights, it also delivers a solid audience to local newscasts, which makes affiliates happy.
The current season of "The Celebrity Apprentice" is down to its final five (or perhaps four) contestants -- Clint Black, Annie Duke, Jesse James, Brande Roderick and Joan Rivers, who stormed off the set following the firing of her daughter, Melissa, last week and vowed not to return. Host-executive producer will name a winner on Sunday, May 10.