LOS ANGELES—Martha Stewart says that when she signed on to do a version of "The Apprentice" with NBC, she believed hers would be the only one on the air. There were even discussions that she would "fire" Donald Trump on the air to launch her show.
That, of course, didn't happen, and "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" became one of the higher-profile non-starters of the 2005-06 TV season. The show averaged just 6.6 million viewers for NBC in the fall and won't return.
"I think having two 'Apprentices' was as unfair to him as it was unfair to me," Stewart says in an interview with Newsweek. "It should have been one 'Apprentice.'"
Although she says her relationship with Trump is "excellent," Stewart also notes that "Donald will be and say whatever the Donald wants to be and say." And sure enough, Trump, who has griped that Stewart's "Apprentice" dragged down ratings for his show in the fall, reacted with something short of sympathy to Stewart's comments.
"I wish she would be able to take responsibility for her failure," Trump tells New York's Daily News (Newsweek says he declined to be interviewed for the Stewart story).
Mark Burnett, who produces "The Apprentice" as well as Stewart's daytime show, "Martha," acknowledges that the idea of Stewart "firing" Trump was kicked around. "Thank God that didn't happen," he tells the magazine.
The next edition of Trump's "Apprentice" debuts Monday, Feb. 27 on NBC.