The father/daughter team tell you everything you could want to know about this new season.
Normally these are words nobody wants to hear. However, on the immensely popular TV show The Apprentice, this saying is almost as addictive for viewers as a mantra. This show which sees contestants compete for a job as an apprentice to Donald Trump, manages to be a weekly microcosm on the world that is known as corporate America. We recently got a chance to sit on a conference call with Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka.
Who's idea was it to make the changes to The Apprentice this year?
Donald Trump: Well, it was a combination of everybody. We've done five in New York and New York has been really terrific... you look at so many shows, NBC, ourselves, and Mark really felt that this would be a good concept. We're really happy with the way it came out and it's quite a bit different.
Ivanka, you're extremely natural when it comes to co-hosting the show.
Ivanka Trump: Thank you. I've learned from the best.
How does having the winning project manager moving on pay off for the viewer?
Donald Trump: I think that a lot of people like the concept. We also have the winning project manager sit by my side, which was another twist. We felt it would be good to let the winning project manager be immune from firing for the next task.
Ivanka Trump: I actually think it adds to the dynamic. Not only is the person sitting in the opposite chair dealt an interesting conflict, in that they want to point out what their team did right, they also know that they have to go back and interact with these people.
Donald Trump: We also got to offer more incentive. The project manager is at great risk. When the team loses, a lot of times the first person you think about is the project manager. This really gives a project manager the incentive to want to be the project manager.
What other tasks do you have coming up?
Donald Trump: We have a lot of different tasks. (Laughs) We have some amazing tasks. I think I'm not supposed to say that right now.
Ivanka, did you find contestants trying to play up to you since you are the daughter of the star of the show?
Ivanka Trump: I think if they're smart, they'll all kiss up to me. (Laughs) I don't think that's different if that's me or anyone else who was in the boardroom. They know they're being evaluated each week on how they perform in the field.
Why did you move the show to L.A.?
Ivanka Trump: I think this show moving to L.A. also echoes what we're doing as a company, really extending the brand. Not only throughout America with buildings... also outside of America. In Israel, Dubai, Panama, Scotland. We were initially more of a New York Centric company now we're growing very rapidly beyond that, and adding a huge international presence it makes sense that The Apprentice move along with us.
Could we see the show going overseas?
Donald Trump: A thing like that would be possible, I think the show itself, at least for the next number, will at least be... in a few of the major cities in this country. Going overseas is not an impossibility at all.
Do you think The Apprentice has changed over time in terms of the kinds of candidates you're seeking now?
Donald Trump: I think it really never changes. We're looking for very smart people. I think one of the reasons The Apprentice has done well is that it's different than other reality shows. It's really about the brain, ultimately. It's about smartness, toughness, it's about energy. I look at some other reality shows and it's not about being smart. Look at the education of many of the people. When you have Harvard, Yale, Princeton, all these great schools, always very strongly represented on The Apprentice. I always love to have some with lesser education but great success. Where they didn't have the big education but they built a great company behind them.
Have you considered Las Vegas to have a show?
Donald Trump: Actually we're gonna have an episode in Las Vegas, a major shot, in Las Vegas this season.
Do you miss having Carolyn by your side this season?
Donald Trump: Well, I've been really waiting for Ivanka to get to an age and a maturity that would be appropriate for the show. Who would have thought that the show was going to last this long? Most shows don't last into the first season. If you look, Mark Cuban failed immediately, Branson failed, there's been 15 copies of The Apprentice... but if you look at Mark Cuban he failed like a dog. Flies watched his show. Branson's show didn't make it. They didn't get anybody watching. I understand the risks of television and The Apprentice became this big success.
I'm just really happy to have Ivanka on. I won't miss anybody. I think that Carolyn had a good run and now it's somebody else's turn.
Ivanka Trump: I think from a logical perspective as well, I know my father better than anyone else. His apprentice will have to have characteristics that appeal to my father on a personal level. I knew from the beginning I could bring that to the table. I think why I didn't join the show for a while is that I wanted to have an understanding of this company, in terms of the Trump Organization and how the candidates would work within the fabric of the organization. So when the time was right to combine the understanding of my father, and what he wants with somebody who works with him, and also the general company and how that person would mesh in the fabric of this organization.
Donald Trump: I just want to add, I was very happy with Carolyn on the show. I will miss her. I was very happy with George also but times change.
Would you consider doing what Survivor did and having contestants divided by race?
Donald Trump: Well, a lot of people thought it was my idea. A lot of people thought we were going to do that on The Apprentice. I'm not sure. It's a very, very complicated subject. Would it work on The Apprentice? Artistically? And sociologically? The answer is probably it would. It fits in because the world is both a good place and a terrible place. I don't see it on The Apprentice.
The Apprentice 90 Minute Season Premiere airs Sunday, January 7 at 9:30/8:30c on NBC.