Jobless Americans will be focus of next "Apprentice"

Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:23pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - When "The Apprentice" returns to U.S. television for a new season, the focus will be more on "You're hired!" than "You're fired!"

NBC said on Wednesday that the next series of the popular reality show will feature Americans who are out of work, recent college graduates with few job prospects, and those holding down jobs they don't like just to make ends meet.

One of the 14 chosen to take part in the show will end up being hired by billionaire businessman Donald Trump. The unsuccessful contestants will get "Trump's personal advice to help them find their dream jobs."

Trump said in a statement he was "proud to be putting people back to work."

"We've got to do something about the economy and this is a terrific way to provide jobs as well as business lessons along the way," he added.

"The Apprentice", which made its debut on NBC in 2004, features men and women from various walks of life who compete against each other on business-oriented tasks.

Each week, a contestant is "fired" by Trump, and eventually the winner gets a $250,000 one-year contract to run one of his many real estate and leisure companies.

NBC said people of all ages are encouraged to apply to appear on the next show, from new college graduates to experienced workers who have been hard hit by the economic downturn.

Dates and locations for open casting calls will be announced at a later date or applicants can email explaining why they deserve a chance to appear on the show.

"The Apprentice" had been off the air for three years to make way for a current, celebrity version, "The Celebrity Apprentice", in which actors, athletes and singers compete in the same format but raise funds for charity.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>A job seeker waits to be called in a lobby at a New York State Department of Labor recruitment office in New York in this January 6, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>