Joined: 06 September 2004
IT BEGINS AGAIN
New York: a city unlike any other. Fast and energetic, fantastic opportunity waits at every corner-- if you're quick enough to seize it. This intense crucible produced one of the most dynamic businessmen ever to cross the Hudson River: Donald Trump. "I'm the largest real estate developer in New York by far, and I own over 100 different companies," he said while cruising the skies over Manhattan in his personal helicopter.
With a large empire under his purveyance, even Trump needs trusted associates to make sure everything runs perfectly. "It's tough to find good people to run my businesses. But I pride myself in only hiring the best," Donald explained. The first two seasons of his television show gave Trump the opportunity to find two new employees worthy of the title of the Apprentice, and .
Now Trump is ready to do it again: he will put 18 new candidates through the most intense 16-week job interview of their lives. "I'm looking for someone who can handle the pressure. I'm looking for someone who is a creative thinker. I am looking for the Apprentice." Nine of these candidates have college degrees. The other nine skipped higher education and jumped directly into the cutthroat world of business. This time, street smarts will battle book smarts for the dream job of a lifetime, and a chance to become the next Apprentice.
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
One by one, the new crop of candidates arrived at Trump Tower. "I'm not one to prejudge, but there are a few people that look like they might not be Mr. Trump material," Tana, the Sales Executive from Des Moines, said as she eyed her competition. Other candidates were getting ready to make a big impression. "These people are in for a hell of a time, courtesy of me. I'm a little man with a big mouth," said Bren, the Prosecutor from Memphis. Erin, the Attorney from Philadelphia, was prepared to make a statement of her own: "I would like to make male chauvinist pigs realize that they're wrong, and women can be sexy and powerful and smart."
Finally, Trump asked Robin to let the eager arrivals into the infamous boardroom. As the candidates filed through the heavy wooden doors, the gravity of the situation began to weigh heavily upon them. "These people are sharks," Todd, the Sales Manager from Carlsbad, Ca., said. "It's going to come down to the boardroom, and that basically comes down to survival of the fittest."
LIVING IN HELL
Donald Trump welcomed the candidates to New York City, and the most demanding journey of their careers. "It's going to be very tough, it's going to be very rough," he promised. Donald introduced George and Carolyn, two of his top executives, who have returned to serve as Mr. Trump's eyes and ears. In the past, Donald has divided up the candidates by gender-- men vs. women. However, Trump informed the attentive crowd that this time would be different.
The candidates would be separated into two corporations-- one with candidates who have college degrees and the other with candidates who have only high school diplomas. "One of the groups makes more than three times the income that the other group makes," Trump revealed. "Shockingly, it's the high school grads. Does that mean practical experience is more important than academic knowledge? I'm not sure. But I am going to find out."
As in the previous season of "The Apprentice", the project manager that wins one week will be exempt from being fired the following week. And, as per tradition, each week's losing team will find themselves in the boardroom, where someone will be fired. "Only one of you will be running one of my companies," Trump said. "For the next 16 weeks, you're going to be living in hell. No one is going to be getting much sleep."
A SCHMOE FROM TAMPA
After being dismissed by Donald, the excited candidates explored their new home: the lavish Suite inside Trump Tower. Giddy with anticipation, they gathered together for a champagne toast-- perhaps their last moment of affable unity before becoming fierce rivals.
John, one of the candidates without a college education, was confident about his team's chances. "You know why we're going to win? Because we've got nothing to lose," he said. "The bottom line is, if I get beat by a Harvard grad, hey, the guy went to Harvard. If he gets beat by me, he got beat by a schmoe from Tampa!"
BUCKLE YOUR CHINSTRAP
The teams gathered in separate corners of the Suite to commiserate and strategize. John sought to establish some ground rules for the street smarts team. "Let's make a pact right now: to work our asses off together," he said. "And one more thing: whatever is said in that boardroom, stays in that boardroom." On the subject of the boardroom, Brian told his teammates that he would be uncompromising. "If I don't like something you do, I will tell you to your face. If you surprise me with something in the boardroom," he warned, "buckle your chinstrap."
On the other side of the Suite, Danny's unique style energized the book smarts team. "He's just our cheerleader. I can see if someone is down or not feeling well, Danny is going to be there to be our cheerleader and bring us back up," Stephanie said. "The other candidates wouldn't see me as a CEO. But they don't see my background of years and years of growing three different businesses and succeeding at that," Danny revealed in an interview.
A TEAM BY ANY OTHER NAME
The two sides quickly focused on picking team names. The street smarts group brainstormed a wide variety of names, including Cornerstone, Legacy, and Triumph. Danny attempted to prove which name was best by bringing out his guitar and improvising songs based on each one, a strategy not appreciated by all of his teammates. "There are some people in the group that need to remain focused. One of those is Danny. The first thing out of Danny's mouth was, 'Let's write a song! Let's think of a team motto!'" Verna said in frustration. Finally, the group decided on Magna Corporation, after the prestigious magna cum laude academic award given out at graduations. The final lineup of the newly formed Magna Corporation consisted of Verna, Stephanie, Kendra, Erin, Danny, Michael, Todd, Bren, and Alex.
The sound of Magna's songs and group cheers of "Unbelievable!" echoed throughout the Suite. "I don't think we're as 'rah rah' as they are," John said, speaking for the street smarts team. "But, you know, all show, no go." The high school grads were busy picking their own name. After Brian suggested Brass Balls Inc., the team settled on Net Worth Corporation. The name reflected Trump's revelation that the street smarts candidates earn three times as much as their academic counterparts. The newly formed Net Worth included Chris, Craig, Brian, Tana, Tara, Kristen, Audrey, Angie, and John.
Back among the members of Magna, Danny was leading the team in an impromptu sing-a-long. "You have to work hard and play hard," he said. "Magna Corp is going to rock 'n' roll." Net Worth was not intimidated. "I'm not going to sit in a circle singing 'Kum Bi Ya, My Lord,'" said Kristen. "I guess that's what they did in college while we were working and making money."
The first full day of competition began with a call from Rona in Trump's office: meet Donald at 9 AM on the roof of Trump Tower. Facing Donald, Carolyn and George high above Manhattan, the candidates revealed their team names, both of which met with enthusiastic approval from Trump.
New Yorkers don't like to waste time because time is money. That's why fast food, especially here, is such a big business." For their first task, the candidates would be working for fast food giant Burger King. With 11 thousand restaurants in 61 countries, Burger King is one of the largest food companies in the world. The company is preparing to launch six new burgers. Each team was challenged to choose a burger, market the new product, and take over a Burger King restaurant for a day.
Whichever team earned the most money from selling the new sandwich would be declared the winner. The opposite team would meet Trump in the boardroom, where someone would be fired. After stirring some competitive spirit between the two teams, Trump wished them luck and sent them on their way.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Net Worth promptly crowned their first project manager: John, who has previous experience in the restaurant business. "I want everyone to have a chance to be heard," he said. His first decision was to take the team to Burger King to learn more about the product.
Magna chose Todd as their project manager. "We want to keep it simple, as simple as possible," he said. Immediately, Danny sold himself as the best choice for marketing, and Todd put him and Stephanie in charge of the creative end of the task. Bren was wary of Danny's initiative: "If you open your mouth and say you're capable of doing something, you better step up to the plate and do it."
Donald Trump expounded on one of the key attributes of a successful businessperson. "The best people are the ones that don't stop until the sale is made," he said in an interview. "They never give up."
Net Worth was already on the ball. They met with Burger King's chef, who showed off each of the six new burgers under consideration. Based on John's guidance, the team focused on which sandwich would be the least difficult to market. They quickly zeroed in on the Western Angus Burger. "The second I saw the Western burger, I knew it would be the easiest to build a good campaign behind," John said.
Click hereClick here
PROJECT MANAGER VS. RESTAURANT MANAGER
Meanwhile, Verna, Magna's resident "fast food expert," evaluated each sandwich from the position of the consumer. She vouched for the Three Cheese Burger, and the team supported her choice. Immediately, Todd split up Magna, sending Danny and Stephanie to Burger King's headquarters for a meeting, while the rest of the team remained at the restaurant for training.
Todd designated Alex as the restaurant manager. "I believed in his ability to put the right people in the right places," the project manager said. As George and Carolyn observed, the team learned the ropes of running a Burger King. Todd, however, sat in a booth, taking notes. Alex was concerned that Todd was making a mistake by not going through training, and felt that the project manager should be working closer with his team. "It seems like there should be more management going on there. He's just not on the same playing field with the rest of the team," Alex said in an interview.
COWBOYS VS. VIKINGS
Net Worth was busy working together as a group to come up with an exciting marketing campaign to back up their burger. "I think John's doing a great job, I think he's delegating really well," Brian said. Tana suggested a contest, where one winner would receive two round trip tickets to Las Vegas-- a trip to the west to compliment their Western Angus Burger. With cheers and applause, the team enthusiastically agreed to the plan.
John dispatched Brian, Angie and Kristen to pick up decorations and costumes related to their western theme. After picking up balloons and cowboy costumes, Brian negotiated with the storeowner for a free Viking hat-- a move that puzzled his teammates. "We're here to do a job, we're not here to negotiate a freakin' plastic Viking hat. If that's why you're here, you're not going to be here for very long," Kristen said in an interview.
JUST SAY CHEESE
Danny and Stephanie, responsible for Magna's marketing campaign, sat down with Russ Fine, Burger King's Vice President of Product Development. The executive had plenty of questions for the candidates. "Do you have a name for it? Who is your customer?" Unfortunately, the duo did not have clear answers. "We were not prepared to meet with Russ. I thought that we should have had more ideas, but Danny wanted to go ahead with the meeting," Stephanie said. When they proposed a "Just Say Cheese" theme, Russ offered lukewarm approval: "That could be ok."
After Russ left the room, Danny had a change of heart. "Um, I'm not sure about this promotion," he said to Stephanie. "He nixed the entire 'Just Say Cheese' campaign and we basically had to start over from scratch," Stephanie said. She found Danny reluctant to listen to her input: "While we were brainstorming, I would throw out ideas, and Danny would decline them." When Todd checked in with them via phone, he began to worry as well. "Danny has been really erratic, going off on tangents, very hard to reign in, not able to come to clear and concise decisions in a timely manner," the project manager said.
PEE PEE ON TANA
Next, Russ met with members of Net Worth. After hearing their idea for a "Wanted: Dead or Alive" campaign and Las Vegas contest, he gave them permission to move forward. Tana moved swiftly to secure two roundtrip tickets to Vegas from a local travel agent.
When she and Kristen met the agent, they were disturbed to find out that he worked from home with his two dogs-- an "office" environment that set the pair on edge. "I don't buy things from people's apartments. I don't trust that stuff," Kristen said. "It smells like urine, there's dog dander everywhere," Tana said in an interview, "I thought, 'Jiminy Christmas let's get out of here.'" However, before they had a chance to flee, one of the dogs relieved himself on Tana's leg. "He went pee pee on Tana," she laughed as she tried to maintain a professional demeanor.
Back at Burger King headquarters, Danny and Stephanie were still struggling to find a winning concept for Magna's marketing campaign. "I'm really hard on myself to come up with something unbelievable that really gets the buzz that we need to take it to the next level. It's tough when you challenge yourself all the time," Danny said. Under pressure from Todd, they settled on a "Triple Play" baseball theme-- mirroring their sandwich's triple serving of cheese.
"You have to put your faith in people that they're going to come through," Todd said. With Day One complete, he complimented his team and closed the day out with the group's now standard cheer of "Unbelievable!". "What's going well for team Magna right now is unity. I think everybody's working together to accomplish a common goal, which is to win this task," he said in an interview.
BURGER KING FOR A DAY
Morning dawned over Manhattan, and John gave an impassioned speech to his Burger King crew: "How many of you guys have graduated from college? None of you? Well guess what, none of us have either. None of us!" His rallying cry: let's show those college graduates what we're made of.
Up the street, the college graduates he referred to were opening their doors and welcoming their first customers. "I'm feeling optimistic, I'm feeling like people are going to come running in," Alex recalled. "Until I look, and I see to the right, their great big promotional scheme." The scheme that Alex was sarcastically referring to was a guitar toting Danny next to a ramshackle baseball toss game-- Danny's big idea to entice customers into the store.
"I was horrified. It looks like a bunch of drunk hippies threw some stuff together to make a little raft to float on," Alex said. His thoughts were reflected in the faces of the passing pedestrians, who responded unfavorably to Danny's efforts. Even Carolyn was appalled: "This is sad. This is very sad." The lackluster campaign was allowed to continue without interference from the project manager. "Todd should have taken control of marketing when he saw that we had a problem," Kendra said.
UP FOR GRABS
Net Worth was having a better time luring customers with their trip to Vegas contest. Once inside the store, the candidates behind the cash registers were having great success pushing their new sandwich to curious patrons. "They all did a tremendous job. Kristen, Angie and Tana all had amazing energy," John said in an interview.
Just as Net Worth was hitting their stride, the members of Magna found themselves stuck in a bottleneck. The lunch rush arrived in full force, and the team did not have enough people behind the registers to keep up with demand. The result: long lines of unsatisfied customers. Todd, the project manager, was powerless to alleviate the situation. "Todd was kind of floating around, but because he hadn't been trained, he couldn't help," Alex explained.
Finally, the candidates' day as burger flippers drew to a close, and Net Worth gave away the round trip tickets to Las Vegas in front of an excited audience. As the team celebrated the winner, Tara was cautiously optimistic about their chances for victory: "I know we worked very hard so I'd be very surprised if we don't win, but I'm not going to take anything for granted. I think it's up for grabs."
THE FIRST VICTORY
The eighteen candidates nervously entered the boardroom to hear the outcome of their first task. Donald and his associates didn't keep them waiting long. "Magna sold 139 units of their specialty item for a total of $553.22," George revealed. Tana cracked a big smile. She was confident her team's total would be higher. "I'm seeing some smiles over here" Donald said.
Carolyn read New Worth's results: "Well, Net Worth sold 182 specialty items, giving you a total of $596.96." The faces of Net Worth openly beamed with wide grins. "So, the college geniuses got beaten by high schoolers, huh?" Trump said rhetorically.
SPEND TIME WITH TRUMP
Flush with their first victory, the high school grads broke into applause as Chris let loose with a jubilant "WOOO!!" Donald let John know that, should Net Worth lose the following week, he would be exempt from being fired. Showing his team spirit, John replied, "Hopefully it won't matter."
To Net Worth's delight, the first reward would be dinner with Mr. Trump himself at the ultra-exclusive '21' Club. The college grads would also get to spend time with Mr. Trump, but the occasion would not be nearly as jovial: "Magna, I'll see you in the boardroom very soon. Somebody will be fired," Donald warned.
Want to join Net Worth as they go inside one of New York's most elite dining establishments? Click here to read more about their reward!
ACCUSATIONS AND FRUSTRATIONS
Back at the Suite, Magna sat down to discuss their performance on the task. Todd started right in on Danny. "All the frustrations stem from the marketing, advertising and promotion side," the project manager said. Danny had a different take: "So, what does it mean when we're sending people in and they're walking out the door? Is that not a frustration?" In an interview, Danny remarked on Todd's conduct. "Erin wanted us to get together and regroup. Todd got us together and split us apart," he said.
Todd did not mince words with Danny. "You could not make a decision at all, the whole night," he accused. Danny expressed his disbelief in an interview. "I was the 'unbelievable' guy. I was the corporate cheerleader. And now I'm being accused of being a traitor. 'It's treason. Danny-- burn him! Send him out!'"
NO WAY THAT IS GOING DOWN
When the meeting was finished, Todd approached Alex to discuss his intentions for the upcoming boardroom. "I have a business side that I feel is a reason for bringing you in, because, from a production standpoint, I thought that we missed opportunity on up-selling." Alex felt the responsibility for failure belonged elsewhere. "Danny was just out of control. My perspective is that you didn't control him," he said.
In an interview, Alex discussed the people who he thought were to blame for Magna's defeat. "I don't know who's worse, Danny or Todd. Todd is a terrible leader. Danny is a steamroller with a drunk driver at the helm," the prosecutor complained. Todd maintained that Alex had nothing to worry about. "It's either me or Danny that are going to go. I can guarantee it. You're not going to get fired," Todd promised. Alex agreed, and with a handshake, the two parted ways.
In another room, Stephanie was bending Danny's ear about her performance on the task. "Do you want to talk about anything else? Because I did great in my job," she said. Danny agreed. Stephanie continued to build her case: "You and I did not lose this on marketing, and there is no way in hell that is going down." Later, in an interview, Danny reflected on their conversation. "She knows the marketing team succeeded. She's going to stick with me on this. And there is only one person to point the finger at: Todd," he said.
Erin found Todd and felt the need to unburden her anxiety. Face down on the bed, she talked about how difficult it was to decide who should be fired. Todd sympathized, and tried to comfort her as she spoke through tears. "I don't want to have to, like, harm anyone on our team. You know, I hate it," she said. "We have to, like, back stab people that we like."
In an interview, Erin commented on her breakdown. "Emotions are running high for everyone in our group right now. We have to go to the boardroom, and everyone is very tense. I know someone's leaving and I know I'm going to have to say who I want to leave, and it was just really stressful," she said.
Joined: 01 June 2004
Thanks for the update, Smisha!
This time Season 3 started earlier than I expected!
Joined: 13 August 2004
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