Sharks & the City
03/18/2004 AT 12:08 PM EST
But oh so watchable. Produced by both Trump and Mark Burnett, the crafty creator of Survivor, The Apprentice is primo reality television, full of unexpected relationships – even an office fling, so to speak – and juicy emotional standoffs that still haven't been resolved more than four months after taping wrapped. Glancing at Omarosa during a recent photo shoot, Amy Henry, 30, a former dot-com entrepreneur from Austin, Texas, rolls her eyes. "The word," she whispers, "is diva."
But for 20 million viewers it's Donald Trump, real estate billionaire, best-selling author and gleeful self-promoter, who's the boss. To the 16 initial contestants flown in to the Big Apple from across the country, he was practically a god. "I was happier than a pup with two peters," says Troy McClain, 33, a Boise, Idaho, real estate investor who never went to college. "My high school yearbook quote in 1989 said, 'Donald Trump, I'm coming!' And I mailed that yearbook to the man.'" But The Apprentice (which ends with a live finale April 15) is really Survivor with type A sharks in suits. "We became enemies or friends very quickly," says Katrina Campins, 24, a real estate agent from Coral Gables, Fla.
The contestants – who also include Nick Warnock, 27, a copier salesman from L.A., former Wall Street investment manager Kwame Jackson, 29, and online cigar-club founder Bill Rancic, 32, of Chicago – have hit the streets of Manhattan hustling whatever oddball business tasks Trump assigned them, starting with setting up a lemonade stand. Recently "I ran into two drug dealers at a pizza stand at 3 a.m.," says Kwame, "and one of them said to me, 'This is what I would have done differently on the lemonade stand. . . .' "