ABC’s The Benefactor debuts tonight.

ABC’s The Benefactor debuts tonight.
ABC’s The Benefactor debuts tonight at 8 p.m. ET, as 16 people try to impress Mark Cuban so he’ll give them $1 million (of ABC’s money). Let’s get the obligatory Apprentice clone comment out of the way first: Mark Cuban tells the Star-Telegram that he’s not offended by the comparison/accusation, saying, “but I will respond with a question: Have they seen the show? Of course, they haven’t. And I couldn’t care less what Burnett or Trump say. I like the show. It’s entertaining, and I had a great time doing it.” On his blog, he also discusses the comparison, addressing Donald Trump directly: “At least you admitted that you hadn’t seen The Benefactor. But saying that it will fail. That’s a little much Donald, even from you.” He also says he “did it for the experience. I had a blast. I got to meet great people. I got to develop the tests for the game. And picking the winner to each test and the eventual overall winner was exciting and a challenge.” Reviews of the show are mixed but lean negative: The AP says the fun comes from “stepping inside the head of a quirky billionaire as he rolls out each high-stakes challenge and sizes up each contestant’s performance.” The New York Daily News calls the series an “obvious, inferior ‘Apprentice’ ripoff.” The Miami Herald’s review is pretty harsh, throwing in a Holocaust reference: Glenn Garvin writes that the series “rewards the willingness of people to submit to the totalitarian whims of an all-powerful control freak. It’s like a game-show version of a Nazi concentration camp.” The show repeats both Tuesday at 10 and Thursday at 9.

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