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.”

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