After a decade firing hopefuls on The Apprentice, Lord Sugar appeared understandably miffed that his application to apply for the US head office role has been rejected.
Donald Trump’s Presidential bid left a vacancy for a new figurehead for NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice. “They did consider me. I could have done both shows,” said Lord Sugar at the launch of the new series of the BBC1 version.
The US public don’t know who I am. That’s why I spend most of my time over there
The Amstrad entrepreneur’s candidacy failed the visibility test. “To be perfectly blunt, the US public don’t know who I am. That’s why I spend most of my time over there. I could have done both. The producers decided they wanted someone popular with the US public.”
NBC announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger is to replace Donald Trump. The actor-turned-politician was “the epitome of a global brand in entertainment and business, and his accomplishments in the political arena speak for themselves,” NBC said in a statement. “They’ve got Arnie now. I can’t wait to see what a cock-up they’re going to make,” the peer said.
Claiming that the original “civilian” US version had been ruined by gimmicks – “They started to do silly things” - Lord Sugar returned to the British show and the 18 hopefuls competing for a £250,000 business investment.
Aiding Lord Sugar in his quest are Baroness Karren Brady, who returns as one of Lord Sugar’s trusted advisors, and Claude Littner, the fearsome adviser notorious for tearing apart the candidates’ flimsy CVs at the interview challenge, who replaces Nick Hewer.
Littner, who admits his fearsome interview persona was a performance he created to help the producers, said: “I don’t tend to get emotional about anything. I’m acting as an observer, reporting back to Lord Sugar. I’m not their friend and I’m not telling them what to do.”
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
1/14 On Isis:
"Some of the candidates, they went in and didn’t know the air conditioner didn’t work and sweated like dogs, and they didn’t know the room was too big because they didn’t have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS?"
2/14 On immigration:
"I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."
3/14 On Free Trade:
"Free trade is terrible. Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people."
PAUL J. RICHARDS | AFP | Getty Images
4/14 On Mexicans:
"When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."
5/14 On China:
"I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them?... I love China. The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower."
6/14 On work:
"If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable."
7/14 On success:
"What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate."
8/14 On life:
"Everything in life is luck."
9/14 On ambition:
"You have to think anyway, so why not think big?"
10/14 On his opponents:
"Bush is totally in favour of Common Core. I don't see how he can possibly get the nomination. He's weak on immigration. He's in favour of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can't do it."
11/14 On Obamacare:
"You have to be hit by a tractor, literally, a tractor, to use it, because the deductibles are so high. It's virtually useless. And remember the $5 billion web site?... I have so many web sites, I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a web site. It costs me $3."
12/14 On Barack Obama:
"Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might be on one of my courses. I would invite him. I have the best courses in the world. I have one right next to the White House."
13/14 On himself:
"Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."
14/14 On America:
"The American Dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before and we will make America great again."
Littner cannot resist returning to type in the opening episode, which features a challenge to create and sell a fish lunch after an early-morning visit to Billingsgate market. “It’s a shambles, a disgrace, I’ve never witnessed anything like it,” complains Littner when the team he is observing fail to meet his standards.
Lord Sugar said he hoped to weed out contestants merely seeking to launch their own reality television career – like Katie Hopkins. He believes the show’s ratings will remain strong, where other formats like X Factor, are struggling to maintain viewer interest.
“The producers know what kind of people are going to be suitable for the show and what criteria I need to find a serious business partner,” he said. “We’re not interested in gimmicks. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. With respect to X Factor, those gimmicks don’t seem to work.”
The nine men and nine women in this year’s competition, which launches next Wednesday, come from a range of careers and backgrounds - from hairdressing and building to corporate management, events and charities.Reuse content