NBC bribing viewers to watch The Apprentice 5; viewer votes may “slightly” change the show

Sliding ratings for The Apprentice 5 have led the network to take drastic measures: “NBC is offering money to people to watch the show,” the Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan reports on her blog.

It’s not exactly payola or a straight-up bribe, per say; instead, “the network is dangling a weekly $10,000 prize in front of ‘Apprentice’ viewers” to participate in the show as “NBC appears to be turning the show into a hybrid that is equal parts reality contest and game show.”

Every week, viewers will vote online or via text message for the “candidate they think deserves to be ‘fired’ in the week’s episode,” according to an NBC press release. Three winners will be selected during every episode. It’s not exactly clear how this will work, but NBC says, “Viewers are ultimately in control and depending on how people vote, each time zone could end up with a slightly different version of the show.”

Trump or no Trump [Chicago Tribune]
NBC’s ‘The Apprentice’ Gives Viewers the Chance to Watch and Win $10,000 [NBC press release]
Get Rich with Trump! [NBC]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.