'Apprentice' star to rise again


NBC has picked up "The Celebrity Apprentice" for a second cycle.

The order completes a strong comeback for the "Apprentice" franchise, which had been canceled in May before new NBC programming chief Ben Silverman brought it back with a celebrity version. In what will be "Apprentice's" eighth installment overall, the reality competition hosted by Donald Trump will stick to the celebrity format, featuring entertainment figures competing in business tasks for charitable causes.

The second season of "Celebrity Apprentice" will premiere in January 2009.

The first season will wrap March 27 with a live two-hour finale. So far, the contestants have raised more than $1 million for charities, including the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of CNY, the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

"This revved-up installment of 'The Apprentice' has been a game-changer for the series," NBC reality chief Craig Plestis said. "There's no other show like it to prove your business brain, and we are already getting calls from high-profile celebrities who want to challenge themselves in Season 2."

Despite some declines since its premiere, "Celebrity Apprentice" is the top Thursday series among adults 18-49, averaging a 3.9 rating/10 share in the demo and 9.3 million viewers overall.

"Apprentice" is produced by Mark Burnett Prods. in association with Trump Prods. Burnett and Trump executive produce, with Eden Gaha and Page Feldman serving as co-executive producers.