Virginia Sherwood/NBC Universal
Martha Stewart may be losing her electronic ankle monitor on Wednesday, but there's ongoing static over possible conflicts of interest on her forthcoming The Apprentice: Martha Stewart show on NBC.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Bethenny Frankel, a New York cookie company owner and one of 16 hopefuls competing for a $250,000 job on the new reality show, dated Brian Koppelman, who is the son of Stewart's trusted right-hand man, Charles Koppelman, who will serve as a judge on the show.
Now, it turns out that two other players – last season's Donald Trump The Apprentice winner Kelly Perdew and new Stewart hopeful, Dawna Stone, a magazine publisher – were coworkers together at Deloitte Consulting and, before that, fellow classmates at UCLA's Anderson School, the New York Post reports.
Show producer Mark Burnett tells the paper that it was Perdew who suggested Stone, but for the Trump version of the reality series. The producer went on to say that he was unaware of the Perdew-Stone link until after Stewart had made her selections. "I certainly had no idea," he is quoted as saying. "I wouldn't know who recommended anybody."
As for the Koppelman-Frankel connection, a spokesman for Mark Burnett Productions told the Post that "the situation is dealt with in the first few minutes" of the program's Sept. 21 premiere. "Viewers will have to tune in to see what happens."