Saturday, December 24, 2005

Martha’s Apprentice: You Just Don’t Fit In

Okay, I’ll admit it… I WATCHED “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart”. But the reason why I did was simple… I was bored! When it first aired, it was at 8pm on Wednesday night, which was an hour before I did my weekly audio rants. Then, of course, they shuffled it to 9pm, and I kept on watching it just out of curiosity. Not to see who would win, mind you, but to see who WOULD NOT win.

It became pretty clear that this version of “Apprentice” would not be as ruthless and cutthroat as the Donald Trump version. This version would be modeled after the public image of Martha Stewart… at least the Martha Stewart of the TV shows and magazines, not the version that did time at Club Fed for her part in the IMClone fiasco. It also became pretty clear that this version of the “Apprentice” could not compete against the Trump version, and that this one pretty much SUCKED.

And that wasn’t just my opinion either. The folks at NBC quickly decided to round-file any thoughts of bringing the show back for any more “auditions”. Even Martha and “The Donald” were pointing fingers at each other for their dismal numbers.

So it was probably appropriate that Martha’s “finale” would be a reflection of the pale imitation of Trump’s version. If Trump’s finale was disappointing, then Martha’s finale was simply bad. In fact, why did she even HAVE a live finale show? Most of the show was pre-recorded! I should have simply taped the last five minutes of the show, when all of the drama was eliminated and the winner was just given the job without any kind of emotion.

Or better yet, in the sprit of Martha’s show, I’ll just let this little letter say it all…

Dear Martha Stewart,

I want to congratulate you for trying to put on a show that reflected everything that you want the people to see about yourself and Martha Stewart Omnimedia. You attempted to make this show yours, just like your friend Donald Trump did everything to make his show his, right down to and including these personal letters expressing your last word rather than letting the rejected candidates get in their last licks.

Unfortunately your show was just not meant to be.

Maybe it was the obsession with finding the right “buzzword” to let people down. Telling people “you just don’t fit in” isn’t as dramatic as saying “you’re fired.” Perhaps it would have been better to just simply say “goodbye” instead of coming up with a buzzword. In situations like that, when you’re trying to be nice, simplicity is often the best solution.

Part of the problem was also timing. Executive Producer Mark Burnett and your friend Donald also share the blame in this. Your show would have made an excellent filler-show in between Donald’s various “interviews”, or even eventually a replacement. But running two shows called “The Apprentice” with completely opposite tones simply did not work for the viewers.

And then there is the other matter which you hinted at on your show but did not want to mention… and that was that your show was done right after you were released from a federal correctional institution, and that certainly had an effect on your potential viewers. I know there were many people (including myself) who were just waiting for you to mention your prison time, or trying to find some hint of your ankle bracelet, since this show was done while you were still under home detention.

Given the fact that you were just getting out of prison, it would have been best if the production for your show was postponed for a year to give you and the viewers a chance to remember the good things about you, and to rebuild your reputation. Then perhaps your show would have gotten the praise that it deserved.

Perhaps in another year or so, when people are tired of Donald Trump’s hardball business practices and his multiple “You’re Fired” sprees you can approach NBC for another chance. But make sure it’s done AFTER Trump has had his run, not during it.

In the meantime, I wish you well in your other activities in MSO, and I would hope that you find it in your heart to bring in some of those other applicants to your company in some lesser fashion. Bethany, Marsela and David would certainly be good assets. Just don’t bring in Jim. You of all people should know that "villians" should not be allowed to profit from their escapades.


David 2

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