BUSINESSMAN Bill Cullen got a nasty surprise from the boardroom of TV3 yesterday when he was told 'You're Fired'.
After four series of 'The Apprentice', the broadcaster issued a statement last night to say it had decided not to make another season of the reality show fronted by the multi-millionaire businessman.
"It's my decision and I'll take the rap," TV3's Director of Programming Ben Frow told the Irish Independent last night.
"Everything has a time and personally I am over 'The Apprentice' and want to move on. It's been a hugely successful series, but it's a big juggernaut of a show which took up a great deal of schedule, which makes it hard to do new things." Winner of two IFTAs, 'The Apprentice' was the second most-watched programme on TV3, as well as being the most-watched home produced programme ever made by the company -- with one episode drawing an audience of 600,000.
However, it was also one of the most expensive.
Larry Bass of company Screentime ShinAwil, whose firm made all four series, said the cost of making 'The Apprentice' had contributed to its demise.
The news of the cancellation did appear to come as a shock to the show's biggest stars who were taken aback by the news yesterday evening.
Stars Bill Cullen, Jackie Lavin and Brian Purcell issued their own statement last night saying: "The programme has broken all ratings records for TV3 and we like to think that we have given a lot of people some important business tips and some hope."
Hopes that 'The Apprentice' might find a new home on RTE look unlikely with a station source saying: "Other RTE shows like 'Dragon's Den' cover entrepreneurship. We definitely wouldn't be interested in 'The Apprentice'."