Trump Ready to Roar with Apprentice 4

08/31/2005 at 08:00 AM EDT

Trump Ready to Roar with Apprentice 4
Donald Trump
Sara Jaye/ABACA
Donald Trump isn't hiding behind the looming shadow of Martha Stewart's new Apprentice show. In fact, the mogul's back to his usual modesty.

"The Apprentice has been a great success by any standard," he tells The New York Times. "And Apprentice 4 is the best by far, the best show we've done."

The original Apprentice, with Trump, debuts on NBC Sept. 22 -- a day after The Apprentice: Martha Stewart makes its premiere.

Through ratings for Trump's third season of Apprentice were down from previous seasons, it still finished in the Top 15, prompting Trump to tell the Times: "The entire series I was angry." At issue, he said, was that he didn't go for producer Mark Burnett's decision to pit college-educated contestants against those with so-called street smarts.

Burnett replies: "The casting problem on 3 was completely my fault. Having book smarts versus street smarts seemed like a great idea but it changed the tenor of the show. ... I don't think people wanted to see potty-mouthed competitors."

Trump also blamed the casting of last season's contestants for the show's ratings dip. "I was very nice. I said, 'You see that guy in dreadlocks? I would like him in the show if possible.' There was a girl I wanted. I said, 'I'd like to see if you could have her in the show.' It wasn't typical Trump," says the mogul.

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