'Apprentice' producer talks shop
'Survivor' creator Mark Burnett branches out
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own
alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.
Or, visit Popular Alerts
(CNN) -- If you think the Australian Outback or a deserted island is tough sledding, you haven't tried to work in New York City for Donald Trump. That's the concept behind "The Apprentice," a new show on NBC.
CNN anchor Daryn Kagan talked with "Apprentice" producer -- and the man behind "Survivor" -- Mark Burnett about the new program.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Talk about treacherous terrain. The New York business world can be like a jungle, so for up and coming business tycoons, a new reality show might be the ultimate survival lesson. In "The Apprentice," competitors pit school smarts against street smarts to become Donald Trump's rookie right-hand man, or right-hand woman as the case might be.
Mark Burnett, you know him, he's the show's executive producer. He joins us from Van Nuys, California, to tell us more about this, on board a plane. How lovely. How perfect.
MARK BURNETT, EXEC. PRODUCER, "THE APPRENTICE": Good morning. That's not my plane.
KAGAN: We're going get to the plane in a moment, Mark. First I want to know a couple things about the show here. Did you seek out Donald Trump, or did Donald Trump come looking for you because he wanted to do a reality show?
BURNETT: No, I went to Donald Trump, and we became friends during the making of a "Survivor" that [leased] his property, and I went to Trump ... because I was looking for a legendary business tycoon for my show "The Apprentice," and who is a bigger personality in the world of corporate business than Donald Trump?
KAGAN: And a lot of people wanted this opportunity. Did he say on the first show over 200,000 people applied?
BURNETT: Yes, that's right. It was a huge application. They're really applying for a job. We narrowed that down from 200,000 to 16, and each week, as you know, Donald fires the person he feels is doing worst over that 13-week job interview.
KAGAN: You split up the men and women, so it's men competing against women. And the first assignment was each team had to set up a lemonade stand, of all basic business enterprises. "The Donald," as he's known, flew over on his helicopter and criticized and coached what each team did.
Let's look at a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP: The men are at that smelly fish market trying to sell lemonade. It's a terrible location, and there's nobody here.
I've got to go. Bye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to get business picking up. We're dying a slow death out here right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: If you didn't see the first episode, the men lost to the women. One of the men was voted off. They move on to another challenge. And it seems now the business side of all these reality shows is product placement, and you are doing a good job of placing one yourself, because you have a private plane company involved in the next challenge. Can you tell us about that?
BURNETT: Yes, I went from the basics of lemonade -- which was funny, we all did it in fifth grade -- up to now corporate jet leasing. [A company] provided jets for us.
[The next thing is] to have "The Apprentice" work at the level of big business now. [The contestants] design a 30-second TV commercial and print ad for major newspapers, and the team, the men or the women, which did the best job designing the ad in the eyes of a famous advertising executive won that week's challenge.
The losers, of course, had to face Trump in the board room, and hear the words, you're fired.
KAGAN: And when do we see that episode?
BURNETT: That's going to be on NBC on Thursday, immediately following "Friends."
KAGAN: Looking forward to that.
One question for you, if "The Donald" was on "Survivor," on one of these islands or exotic locations, how do you think he would do?
BURNETT: Donald wouldn't think of going to "Survivor." The only jungle that Donald wants is Manhattan. He told me "Forget your Amazons and Africas, the real jungle is New York City, Burnett." I think he's kind of right.
KAGAN: Well, it looks like it's fun. Any clue you can give us about who the ultimate winner is?
BURNETT: All I'll say to you is that Donald's looking very seriously at the person who run his company, and all 16 have great IQs and are very accomplished. It's certainly the smartest, most driven group of people ever seen on reality TV, and it gets very nasty at times.
KAGAN: OK. Yes, it did just even over lemonade. Catfights, I'm not just talking about the women's team either. We'll look for the next episode. It is "The Apprentice." Mark Burnett, good luck with that. Thanks for stopping by.
BURNETT: Thank you very much.