Martha: I Expected to Fire Trump

10/31/2005 at 02:00 PM EST

Martha: I Expected to Fire Trump
NBC Universal Photo
Martha Stewart originally thought she'd be telling Donald Trump "you're fired" on The Apprentice.

"I thought I was replacing The Donald," Stewart, 64, says in the Nov. 14 issue of Fortune magazine. "It was even discussed that I would be firing The Donald on the first show."

When asked about the real-estate mogul's reaction to this bit of possible programming, Stewart says "I don't think he ever knew."

While Martha's version of the reality show has been a ratings disappointment, she sees it with her signature optimism. "We're getting six to seven million viewers a night," she tells the magazine. "Guess what? That's damn good. People walk away from the show thinking, 'What a nice company that is,' and 'Boy, do they do good things.'"

Trump, however, hasn't been so charitable. The mogul has blamed Stewart's show for disappointing ratings.

"I think there was confusion between Martha's The Apprentice and mine," he said earlier this month. "Mine continues to do well, and as you know, the other one has struggled severely,"

Trump's Apprentice, now in its fourth season, continues to be successful, but has posted its smallest audience to date, averaging around 10 million viewers a week, down 4 million from last season.

"I think (Stewart's show) probably hurt mine and I sort of predicted that it would, because there was a lot of confusion in the world," Trump, 59, told ABC radio.

In another quote from the Fortune interview, the domestic diva announces her intention to sell Turkey Hill, her Westport, Conn., estate. "I hardly ever go there anymore. I don't miss it," she insists.

Her lesson from her jail and house-arrest sentences for lying to federal investigators about a 2001 stock sale? Says Stewart: "I have learned that I really cannot be destroyed."

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