Earlier this summer NBC fired Donald Trump. The network said it was due to “the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants,” as USA Today reported in July.
NBC plans to continue the Celebrity Apprentice franchise and is actively searching for a replacement. Among the names floated are human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and, more recently, Magic Johnson, Richard Branson, and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban.
Trump said shortly after his firing that few could replace him on Apprentice and he believed NBC would take him back. He told Entertainment Tonight other attempts to model the Apprentice franchise had failed.
“Mark Cuban did ‘The Benefactor,’ and it didn’t work, unfortunately. Richard [Branson], who is a friend of mine, did another show [‘The Rebel Billionaire: Branson’s Quest for the Best’] that didn’t work… I don’t know who can replace me. I’m sure someone maybe can replace me, but all I can say is there have been 15 copies of ‘The Apprentice’ and every one of them failed.”
NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt answered “absolutely not” when People asked him last month if Trump might come back to the franchise.
According to an US Weekly report on Friday, there’s little chance Cuban will take the plunge. An unnamed source told the magazine the Dallas Mavericks owner is happy with his current television gig.
“Mark’s not interested. He thinks [his ABC series] ‘Shark Tank’ is a way better show and loves being a part of it.”
Cuban stars in Shark Tank and its spin-off Beyond the Tank, which provides updates on entrepreneurs who made appearances on the program. Beyond the Tank had a limited run last season and is set to return as a companion series to Shark Tank this fall.
Each Shark has updated a Shark Tank investment so far on Beyond the Tank. A segment with Cuban advising the proprietors of The Red Dress Boutique, during which they had a disagreement about the business’ website, aired last season.
Us Weekly reported that Richard Branson also won’t be joining the Celebrity Apprentice team. A representative for the British mogul said he does not have the time.
“Richard has a very busy schedule of worldwide commitments that would not enable him to do this.”
The Celebrity Apprentice announcement is not expected for some time. The show is slated to return in the 2016-17 television season.
[Left photo by Bob Levey / Getty Images Sports; Right photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images News]