Friday, February 24, 2006

TRUMP'S TV WOES

Here's a link to yet another stupid NY Daily News story about the silly feud between Donald Trump and Martha Stewart over Martha's flop Apprentice show. Donald was trashing Martha because her Apprentice show was such a flop. Well, maybe Trump ought to fire himself for the debacle that is his own show.

As you all know by now The Apprentice returns Monday at 9PM right after Deal or No Deal. The problem is that this show is sinking fast and everyone knows it. They've only been in the offseason from the last train wreck of a series for a couple of months now, and it still feels like too short a period of time. People are fed up watching good people getting hosed while undeserving jerks get ahead for no reason. But more than that, people are fed up with all of the other ridiculous nonsense on and off the show, like this stupid feud that's going on.

Enough already. Everyone knows Martha's show was a boring train wreck. But that doesn't mean that the Donald's show is so great. If it were so great, it would still be on Thursday nights! Instead, NBC is moving the Trump show to Mondays so the show can stop getting slaughtered by CSI every night. NBC is moving Trump, and will fill his former Thursday night time slot with My Name is Earl and The Office. The few die-hard fans remaining aren't happy about this move; we all loved watching Survivor at 8PM and The Apprentice at 9PM on Thursdays. Global TV in Canada ran both these shows on the same night and were cleaning up, so they can't be too happy about this, either. But frankly, NBC had to do something drastic to turn things around on Thursdays. And they aren't dumb, these network executives, they have taste! They know they're better off in the long run putting shows on the air that show signs of actually being good. My Name is Earl and The Office are good shows on their way up, while The Apprentice is on its way down--- to the cab.

Another factor is that Dancing with the Stars is also airing on Thursdays lately, and FOX is airing the American Idol results show lately on the same night, which creams everybody. I think NBC was afraid of how it would look if The Apprentice got beat by some second-rate reality show on the same night. Not a way to start a season. I think they know this series is in big trouble, and are looking for some way to save it and keep all the high-end viewers and advertising money flowing in. This show gets a ton of money from product placements and has an ultra-high-end viewership of MBAs and other rich people who tune in to get ideas about how business ought to be conducted. God help us if they actually use some of the ideas from this series, but I do think NBC still has a vested interest in trying to figure out a way to keep this piece of junk on the air and make it a hit again, because the audience is so desirable.

Unfortunately, Trump's show now has to face 24 on Monday nights on a regular basis; plus, ABC is running the finals of The Bachelor next week, with the doctor guy choosing his bride. What irony: these two reality series are both in real trouble with their declining audiences, and here they are facing off against each other. I wouldn't be surprised if The Donald's show utterly crashes into third place on Monday, given the competition.

What a choice! What would you rather see: someone getting fired by Trump, or someone getting dumped by The Bachelor?! I'd say the freak-show and rubbernecking factors alone make The Bachelor required viewing, because that show is truly so bad that you have to watch to see how low it can go. And besides, I'd much rather see what happens to poor Sarah or Moana than see what becomes of the arrogant jerks who are Trump's contestants. These two suitors are people you might actually feel sorry for, unlike these Trump candidates! With these Apprentice candidates you're actually rooting for them to be defeated, some of them! These type-A jerks get on my nerves. It used to be this show had some people on it with class, people you wanted to root for. But the last three seasons have been loaded with idiots.

Why is this show seemingly in a death spiral right now? Well, let's put it this way, this show has spent the last three seasons jumping back and forth from the shark. Let us count the ways this show has sucked:

(1) The first sign of trouble is the tension involving the resident idiots of the first season Sam and Omarosa, and the idiot decision of the Donald to keep these two lunatics around and spare them from the knife. Network people and producers get the impression that the reason the show is a hit is because of these two idiots, so they heavily promote the next season by saying "who will be the next Omarosa?" Producers add more idiots to the cast to liven things up.
(2) Fans are upset when the popular, hard-working Troy is fired, for no other reason than because he didn't have a college education. It was a chintzy reason to fire this guy and everyone knew it, wondering why he was even on the show if he didn't have a degree.
(3) The women's team sexes it up in order to win. They win all the time, and then Carolyn shows up to ream them out for using their sex appeal to get ahead. It's the beginning of the end for the girls: all the women are fired by the time the finals roll around. Amy, who hardly ever lost during Season One and was a heavy favorite, is the last to go when she surprisingly bombs her interviews with Trump executives.

Now, despite these issues the first season of the show was very successful. The two finalists, Bill and Kwame, were first-class individuals and the feeling was that the contestants, most of them, were class acts that viewers wanted to root for. But then came Season Two: the Year of Incompetence.

(4) Bradford impresses early, wins as project manager and gets an exemption from dismissal in the next week's boardroom. Despite his solid efforts, his team is a train wreck and loses. Bradford then waives his exemption in the boardroom to show Trump that he didn't slack off during his team's losing task, even though he had an exemption, and implores the Donald to judge him on what he did. Trump ridicules his show of guts, ignores his strong performance on the job, and fires him.
(5) Stacie J. is singled out by her squabbling female team for being crazy, and is fired for that.
(6) Trump transfers the capable Pamela from her winning almost-all-male team to the squabbling, train wreck all-female team and almost leads that group of utter losers to a victory after weeks of defeat. The board blames Pamela for the loss, though, and she is fired--- not to mention HOSED.
(7) Jennifer Crisafulli insults those two "Jewish old bags" as project manager and not only is fired on TV, but loses her real job in real life for her comments.
(8) John is fired, essentially, for not knowing anything about women's fashions. And let's not even discuss skirt-chasing Raj.
(9) The mutiny. Elizabeth is humilated by her own team over her inept "leadership" (?) (!) and is the first person to be fired on the spot in Apprentice history.
(10) On the eve of the finals, Kevin is fired after his interviews for supposedly not having any clear career direction, in spite of his solid performance all year during a season of incompetence from the rest of the cast. Black leaders criticize the firing, say the real reason he was fired was because he's black.
(11) The three-hour train wreck Season Two finale starring Regis Philbin features a battle between the less-than-inspiring Kelly and the even worse Jennifer M., who only gets to the final because she's the only woman on the women's team who rose above all the catfighting. Trump asks for opinions on who to hire during the live show and that leads to Jennifer getting humiliatingly trashed on live TV. Most embarrassing is the Trump executive who freezes up on national TV while bashing Jennifer. She's fired, and the show jumps the shark.

Might I also add that the whole season was Product Placement Hell. This aspect of the show got really bad in Season Two and has been dragging the show down ever since.

By this point the show was clearly treading water. The finale was a big letdown, many of the contestants were quite unimpressive, and many of the boardroom decisions made no sense. Capable project managers were falling victim to predictable, week-after-week firings. This led to the series low point: Season Three.

(12) "Book Smarts versus Street Smarts" features embarrassing tasks and absolute idiot contestants. ( Danny, that dude who strummed the guitar all the time, was an absolute classic.) Even the Donald isn't into it, and it shows.
(13) Verna, that contestant who walked out on her task and then quit the show made all the contestants look like second-rate, wannabe actors.
(14) The notorious Donny Deutsch advertising task, in which both teams tank in humiliating fashion, sends both teams into the boardroom and makes everyone in the audience wonder why the Donald didn't fire everyone on every team on the spot.
(15) The tobacco-chewing Chris is an embarrassment all season, has anger management problems, tells Trump in the boardroom "I am not a homosexual". Cries in the boardroom after he's fired. After the season is over he's arrested for disorderly conduct; charges are dropped.
(16) The boring and predictable one-hour final show is won by the boring, under-the-radar Kendra.

In spite of the lacklustre season, NBC ups for Season Four and a season of Apprentice overexposure with the pathetic Martha show on Wednesdays and the Donald on Thursdays. These two immediately start feuding, and Martha's show is a boring train wreck from the start. But it isn't all bad; the Donald personally selects the cast for The Apprentice 4 and initially it looks like a great start to their season. There were some tense moments in the boardroom on the Donald's show with some exciting and unpredictable mass firings during the early episodes of Season 4.

(17) Exciting or no, the infamous Dick's Sporting Goods debacle was the beginning of the end for this season's show. The show went straight downhill after that. Trump's decision to go nuts and fire four people, almost wiping out a whole team, was great television and the high point of the year. But I'd say at least two of these guys got hosed simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time; they had been part of winning teams, but being part of one big loss is enough to get them fired. Trump then went overboard by going on a multiple-firing spree all season, which sort of reduced the shock value of this sort of thing for the rest of the year.
Of the people remaining from the Dick's Sporting Goods debacle, some, like the inept Markus, were utterly useless. And some of them were complete jerks. But they got a free pass for being on the winning team. You had to wonder why they were still around while these four decent hard-working people were on the street.
(18) It's men versus women, and the women's team is an embarrassment to women again, as usual. The women catfight and hate one another, but the Donald doesn't bother to mass-fire any of THEM. Rebecca breaks her ankle, and then she defends the useless Toral and saves her from firing in the boardroom when the rest of the team is rightfully screaming for her head. Rebecca gets to keep her job when such a tactic never worked for anyone else on the show. Toral bombs again the following week and is fired.
(19) The obnoxious Clay, who sulks and can't work with anyone, period, is an embarrassment to gay people everywhere.
(20) The Donald tells Adam in the boardroom that one of these days he'll find out how great it is to have sex. Another new low.
(21) Alla, another sunny personality who can't work with anyone and who's still bitter after being fired, proves to world what a diva she is: trashes Rebecca in the finale.
(22) Rebecca's event is a train wreck that embarrasses the sponsor! She is basically told by Yahoo! to make her charity event a Yahoo! event. Instead, the event raises no money and an embarrassed Yahoo! has to cut a cheque to charity on national television.
(23) Randal, how would you feel if we hired Rebecca, also?
(24) Jim, you played by your rules, now you're playing by my rules. You just don't fit in. Sincerely, Martha Stewart.

The misfires of this show are so legendary by this point it's hard for anyone to take this show seriously anymore. Maybe it used to be a window on how companies worked at one point in time but if this is how the business world really operates, boy, you'd have to want to run like heck. Who talks about sex (?) in the middle of a meeting in which someone's job is on the line--- that's a lawsuit waiting to happen. I mean, how low does it get.

Maybe the joke's on us, the regular viewers of this show. Maybe this show never was any good to begin with. Maybe we're only now starting to clue in and figure that out for ourselves. It sure looks like this show is running out of ideas, fast, and finding new and creative ways to wear out its welcome with the public. If this keeps up this series will succeed in getting itself, uh, fired.

Here's some future shark-jumping plans for the show to look forward to for the very few of you who still care about this series:
(25) The show is moving to Mondays, opposite 24. Who's gonna watch? Big Thursday reality-TV night is ruined for the fans.
(26) NBC asks the audience to vote on-line for one of 6 US Olympians; winner with most votes makes the cast of season 6 of The Apprentice. People are actually calling this a blatant "shark-jump" moment.
(27) Donald Trump's business is in New York, home of Wall Street--- but season 6 is slated for Los Angeles. WHY????!!!

Um, that's it for now.

No comments: