The fourth edition of "Celebrity Apprentice" debuted Sunday, filling up two hours of NBC's struggling primetime schedule. That it airs immediately after rival CBS' "The Amazing Race" must rankle star Donald Trump. While that CBS staple won seven consecutive Emmys as best reality competition series -- beginning with the first year of the category in 2003 -- Trump's televised job search lost its only two bids.
Its first nomination dates to 2004 and the smash debut season of the "The Apprentice." Another came the following year that covered the second and third cycles of the show. By the sixth season in 2007 audiences had grown tired of the concept and it was reintroduced the following year as "Celebrity Apprentice."
Though this version has fared better in the ratings, it has failed to find favor with Emmy voters. And that does not sit well with the feisty Donald. Last year, he blasted the Emmys for not recognizing "The Apprentice." He told Hollywood Reporter, "Instead of shows that deserve to win, they pick 'Amazing Race.' It's a very sad commentary." Trump claimed that the Emmys have lost credibility and, if they ever hope to increase their sagging ratings, they must start rewarding shows that "deserve" to win.
Voters decided that "Top Chef" deserved to win last year. While many thought the "Race" was vulnerable, pundits believed "American Idol" would be the show to finally end "Race's" winning streak.
This year's potential nominees for best reality-competition show include the resurgent "American Idol," a redemption-inspired cycle of "Survivor," and five-time nominees "Dancing With the Stars" and "Project Runway." With such stiff competition, Trump and his team of job seekers are likely to be snubbed again.