- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Trump’s tune

“The Apprentice: The Musical”?

Can the Donald dream even that big? Apparently so, if the real estate mogul was to be taken at his word when he dished about a most unlikely “Apprentice” spinoff this week.

“Every producer on Broadway wants to get involved with us,” Mr. Trump said in a teleconference push for his NBC show’s third season. “I think it would be a smash.”

For now, the real estate titan has season three on his plate — plus his wedding this weekend to model and longtime squeeze Melania Knauss. The new season starts at 8:30 tonight with a 90-minute opener.

The latest round of entrepreneurial upstarts is divided into two camps: street smarts and book smarts. The former have no formal higher education but have thrived regardless. The latter have thrived, too; they just have major student loans to pay off.

“I’ve seen a lot of really educated people get eaten alive by people who don’t have the big education,” Mr. Trump observed.

Mr. Trump signed on for three seasons of “The Apprentice,” which is one of NBC’s few ratings highlights. He’s vague about whether he’ll agree to another season, but don’t bet against it.

“As long as the ratings continue to be this high, it’s something I would enjoy doing,” said Mr. Trump, who appears tickled that strangers routinely greet him with their version of his catchphrase, “You’re fired.”

“There’s something very seductive about being a television star,” he said.

Numb3rs’ game

“Northern Exposure’s” Rob Morrow returns to CBS tonight on a new crime drama promising a mathematical wrinkle to the genre.

“Numb3rs,” airing after the AFC Championship game Sunday before settling into its 10 p.m. Friday night slot thereafter, stars Mr. Morrow as a detective who leans on the mathematical genius of his kid brother (David Krumholtz) to help crack tough cases. The show’s familiar cast includes “Taxi’s” Judd Hirsch and “Ally McBeal’s” Peter MacNicol.

Raymond’s‘ exit

Don’t expect a “Friends”-style goodbye for “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

Television’s most popular sitcom will end its nine-year run May 16 with a plain old half-hour episode, CBS told Associated Press on Tuesday.

“We didn’t want to milk the story into an hour,” series star Ray Romano told AP. “There’s been enough of that,” added Phil Rosenthal, executive producer.

Of course, CBS will precede that 30 minutes with an hour-long retrospective to make the package more attractive for advertisers. The cast is filming the finale this week and keeping tight-lipped on whether the battling Barone family will exit arguing.

The actors and Mr. Rosenthal said that it will be an emotional week but that they are walking away without any sense of unfinished business.

“The reason we’re stopping is that we’ve done every single thing that we can think of,” Mr. Rosenthal said, expressing a concept with which the creators of “Will & Grace” must not be familiar.

Comic Brad Garrett, who plays Mr. Romano’s brother, Robert Barone, said he hadn’t been approached about a potential spinoff. “I love the character,” he said. “I’m open to it.”

“Supposedly, there is a group of people that are out there talking about it that aren’t talking to me,” he joked. “I hear they’re looking for a Brad Garrett type.”

Monica Horan, who plays Mr. Garrett’s wife, Amy, said her interest in a spinoff would probably hinge on what her real-life husband wants to do. She’s married to Mr. Rosenthal.

Since the first season, Mr. Rosenthal has been producing what he hoped would be an ageless sitcom in a time-honored tradition.

“We’re doing the show for CBS, but in the back of my mind, we’re doing it for Nick at Nite,” he said. “We wanted the show to have lasting value.”

Hallmark’s ‘Point’

Betty White is too busy working to even consider retirement.

The longtime sitcom star, who just celebrated her 83rd birthday, plays a determined granny this weekend in an original movie on the Hallmark Channel.

“Annie’s Point” finds Miss White’s character persuading her granddaughter to join her on a road trip to scatter her late husband’s ashes on what would have been their 50th wedding anniversary. “8 Simple Rules’” Amy Davidson plays the granddaughter, and Richard Thomas co-stars as Miss White’s son.

The film airs at 9 p.m. Saturday night on Hallmark.

The “Golden Girls” and “Mary Tyler Moore Show” star recently signed on to play a recurring character on ABC’s “Boston Legal.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports

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