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"The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 11/22/2005

Ever since the original “The Apprentice” aired on NBC, there have been a slew of imitators.  In his attempt to expand his universe, Donald Trump got together with original “Apprentice” executive producer Mark Burnett and created a spin-off of his hit show featuring recently sprung jailbird Martha Stewart.  “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” ended up being a carbon copy of the original show, and the ratings are doing horribly.  I actually don’t think that it is that bad though, but the credit for the show’s decentness can’t be attributed to Martha.

The show is set up in the same exact way.  Instead of The Ojays’ “For the Love of Money,” we get The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” as a theme song.  Sixteen candidates compete for a position within Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO.)  They have been divided into two teams:  Matchstick, a.k.a. the “creative” team, and Primarius, a.k.a. the “corporate” team.  Since this is a copy of the Trump Business Model, I’m not shocked that Matchstick loses most of the time.  Anyway…they are given a task each week, and the winning team gets a reward (which is usually a visit to one of Martha’s country homes), while the losing team is sent to the boardroom, where someone is “asked to leave” (they don’t get “fired,” because Martha doesn’t like using that word.)  After the losing candidate is sent packing, Martha drafts a handwritten letter to that person in her attempt to be courteous.

Martha has her version of George Ross and Carolyn Kepcher.  MSLO Chairman of the Board Charles Koppleman and Martha’s daughter Alexis help her make decisions during this process.  Charles looks and acts a lot like George, while Alexis actually seems to have more attitude than her mother…and that is a good thing (sorry…had to be said.)

The show started out with a little bit of minor controversy in the first episode.  Charles apparently has a daughter that personally knows one of the candidates…Bethenny Frankel, a 34-year-old natural foods chef from New York, NY.  In the eight episodes that have followed, this issue hasn’t been raised again.

Martha herself is somewhat bland.  She has her fiery moments now and then, but overall, she is just too nice.  Unlike her apparent behind-the-scenes attitude…so perfectly portrayed by Cybill Shepherd in two TV movies…her on-camera appearance is too sunny.  The Donald is intimidating on the original show, but Martha seems to rely on Charles and Alexis to be the meanies.

There is one reason why I like the show though…Jim Bozzini.  Jim is a 36-year-old ad executive from Gilbertsville, PA…and he is a nut.  The fact that he hasn’t been asked to leave yet is shocking.  He is kind of a Jeckyl and Hyde-type though.  One minute he acts like a lunatic, and the next minute he is one of the most driven and hardest working members of his team.  I never know what he will do next, which is exciting.  I wish that he were on the original show instead of this one.  Personally, I secretly hope that he wins.

NBC has already announced that “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” won’t be coming back for a second season.  They claim that the show was originally intended to run only one season, but with the low ratings it has achieved, there is no reason for them to suddenly give it a second season.  This show is better than Mark Cuban’s “The Benefactor” rip-off on ABC or Richard Branson’s “The Rebel Billionaire” rip-off on FOX.  It’s also better than those “style” shows, like “Wickedly Perfect” or Tommy Hilfiger’s “The Cut,” both on CBS.  No one can outdo The Donald though…but Martha did try.  Unfortunately, for her, the show’s failure is a bad thing.


Get her book Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook:

Get her book The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as You Start, Grow, or Manage a Business:

Get her book Simple Home Solutions: Good Things with Martha Stewart Living:

Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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