- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2009

‘Apprentice’ renewed

NBC says Donald Trump will be firing more stars next year when “Celebrity Apprentice” returns for another round.

The network is announcing a ninth season for the reality series, scheduled to air in Spring 2010, Associated Press reported Wednesday. As per usual, 16 new celebrities will meet and compete in business-oriented challenges. All but one of the rivals will hear the business mogul tell them, “You’re fired!”

The news of more “Celebrity Apprentice” arrives as the current season heads into its home stretch, airing May 10. Clint Black, Annie Duke, Jesse James, Brande Roderick and Joan Rivers are the remaining contenders.

Babs, Donald to team

In other Trump news, the Donald and Barbara Walters have apparently ended their longstanding feud.

According to AP, Mr. Trump is booked to appear Tuesday on Miss Walters’ daytime show “The View.” He will promote a book and the season finale of “The Apprentice.”

It’s a win-win situation for both parties: Mr. Trump gets publicity, while Miss Walters lands an attention-getting guest during a ratings sweeps month.

Mr. Trump hasn’t been on the show since he got in the middle of Rosie O’Donnell’s ugly exit from “The View” two years ago. He told reporters that Miss Walters had said that she was happy Miss O’Donnell had been fired, which Miss Walters denied publicly.

The two broke the ice when Mr. Trump appeared on Miss Walters’ satellite radio show a few weeks ago.

Brit ‘Office’ to Swim

Ricky Gervais will dip into Adult Swim this summer.

Adult Swim, continuing its across-the-pond acquisition spree, is licensing the BBC Comedy hit “The Office,” Multichannel.com reports.

Both seasons of the original two-time Golden Globe Award-winning series will begin airing on Adult Swim this summer. Adult Swim will also air “The Office” Christmas special.

Created, written and directed by Mr. Gervais and Stephen Merchant, “The Office” follows the day-to-day lives of employees in the Slough, Berkshire branch of the fictitious Wernham Hogg Paper Co. The series’ main character, David Brent, as portrayed by Mr. Gervais, is familiar to office workers everywhere. As regional manager of the company, Brent fancies himself as a great team leader using humor to win the loyalty of his staff. In reality, he is belittling, smug, sexist, insensitive, patronizing and unthinkingly offensive.

The show spawned the American version NBC’s “The Office” starring Steve Carell.

Roker’s role expands

Emmy-winning “Today” weatherman Al Roker will host the new weekday morning program “Wake Up With Al” on the Weather Channel, recently purchased by NBC.

Mr. Roker, the weather and feature reporter on NBC News’ “Today” since 1996, will host the show from New York, with co-host Stephanie Abrams reporting from Atlanta, TVWeek.com reports. He also will continue with his “Today” duties.

The one-hour show will air weekday mornings at 6 a.m. and will premiere this summer.

‘The Hills’ are alive

Although Lauren Conrad has had her fill of “The Hills,” MTV is extending the series’ run with an additional clutch of episodes set to air in the fall.

As part of its upfront announcements to advertisers, the cable network said Tuesday that the docusoap will continue without the 23-year-old designer. Instead, a new story line will be built around newlyweds (and Lauren Conrad antagonists) Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag, the Hollywood Reporter says.

“MTV viewers will find out life in Los Angeles only gets more complicated as friendships, relationships and loyalties are tested like never before as ‘The Hills’ returns this fall with more episodes of Season 5,” the network said in a statement.

Last week, producers said they were planning to continue shooting footage of the remaining characters beyond the season finale. MTV likely will decide how many episodes will air based on how compelling the resulting footage is.

Along with news of an L.C.-free version of the hit show, MTV also unveiled its 2009-10 programming roster, prepping nine new shows and returning four series.

They include:

• The Buried Life: An aspirational new show that follows four young men on an epic quest to prove that anyone can do anything - everything from kissing Rachel McAdams to getting in the Guinness Book of World Records. But they also made a promise to themselves: For every goal they achieve on their list, they help a stranger do something on theirs.

• The Alexa Chung Show: A live, hourlong daily program hosted by the British TV personality and model. The show will feature celebrity guests and musical performances and allow viewers to interact with guests in real time via Twitter.

• Ultimate Parkour Challenge: A competition series using “free running,” in which “athletes run as efficiently as possible from Point A to Point B. But unlike a track and field race, parkour - an activity that helps you to overcome an obstacle by principally using the abilities of the human body - is performed on any and every environment. Walls, cars, stairs, railings, rooftops and 10-foot gaps between five-story buildings force runners to leap, roll, climb, vault and fly, using the obstacles in their way to increase speed.”

• Pranked: A weekly 30-minute show featuring “the very best pranks” pulled off the Internet.

In addition to “The Hills,” MTV also is cooking up new seasons of “America’s Best Dance Crew,” “Run’s House” and “Nitro Circus,” the Hollywood Reporter notes.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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