You're fired, Bill -- Meteor hangs up on 'Apprentice' deal
MOBILE phone operator Meteor has hung up on 'The Apprentice' -- by pulling its sponsorship of the TV3 reality show.
Title sponsor of the series in 2009, Meteor announced it will not be involved in the programme's new series which launched its search for candidates yesterday.
"We were very happy with our sponsorship of 'The Apprentice' last year. While we have decided not to sponsor the series this year, we wish Shinawil the best success with the new series," a spokeswoman for Meteor said.
The decision by Meteor to withdraw will surprise many, as the phone network's involvement with the show was seen as money well spent.
A planned celebrity version of 'The Apprentice', due to happen early this year, was also cancelled with producers saying this was due to the lack of availability of high-profile contestants.
However, the programme's mentor and presenter Bill Cullen said he expected that another title sponsor for the series would be announced in the coming weeks.
"It's like wallpaper," he said. "Meteor have just moved on. After four months, the length of the series, doing something you move on to something else. Or else someone else comes in and wants to do it, and really, really wants to do it.
"We have more sponsors on 'The Apprentice' 2010 than we need right now, which means that everyone realises, that not only is 'The Apprentice' great for the profile of the individuals who appear, it's great for the profile of the companies involved."
Reprising his role in the boardroom again this year, with Jackie Lavin and adviser Brian Purcell, the businessman said he expected to see more "mature, experienced people" applying this season.
Potential candidates for The Apprentice, which airs on TV3 in September, can apply online at www.tv3.ie/theapprentice.