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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Apprentice’ may be a musical

From wire reports

A company of Dancing Omarosas? The Singing Kwames? A George and Carolyn duet?

These prospects and more could become a reality if “The Apprentice: The Musical” hits Broadway.

Donald Trump says he and fellow executive producer Mark Burnett are weighing a stage musical based on the NBC reality series about competition among corporate jobseekers, which returns for its third season tonight.

“We are really looking at it,” Trump told television critics gathered in Los Angeles for their annual tour. “Because of the great success of ‘The Apprentice,’ every producer on Broadway wants to get involved with this. … We’ll probably have something to report one way or the other in the not-too-distant future.”

According to the industry trades, producer Mark Burnett is already at work on songs and describes the project as “a love story.”

“It still needs to stand on its own legs,” Trump said. “You can’t just put the name ‘Apprentice’ on a Broadway marquee and think it’s going to do well. People are too smart for that.

“I think if it’s able to show the drama, the tension, in the a way the love, the anxiety and all of the other things ‘The Apprentice’ shows, it’s going to be a very big hit on Broadway.”

The latest version of the TV series, which begins with a 90-minute episode tonight (8:30 p.m. on KHQ-6 in Spokane), pits nine college graduates against an equal number of entrepreneurs with high school diplomas in what NBC is billing as “book smarts against street smarts.” The prize is a job with a Trump enterprise.

Trump, who attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of business and calls himself a believer in the value of education, said he was impressed by the skills of the noncollege contestants.

They are “maybe more driven because they have a little chip on their shoulder,” he said.

Asked if he felt pressure to hire a woman after the first two seasons ended with male winners, Trump – who’s getting married for the third time on Saturday – said no.

“The women have done very well on the show … in many cases better than the men,” he said, adding: “I can’t think like that, because then it just becomes statistically who’s going to get in.”

Trump is signed through this season and said NBC “wants to renew my contract very badly.” He probably will remain with the show through the fifth season, he said, with the deciding factor being its continued success.

The series finished last season as one of the top programs among advertiser-favored young adult viewers, Trump boasted. But it did show signs of slipping, as the audience for the second-season finale dropped 39 percent compared to the first year.