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Celebrity Apprentice fired before first day

CELEBRITY Apprentice has been fired from TV3's Spring schedule even before its first day. Despite last-minute efforts to salvage the programme, which was due to hit TV screens next month, it is no longer going ahead in its original format due to a failure to find sponsors.

A source has explained how TV3 bosses were "boiling with rage" after desperate attempts to seal the deal on the new show proved futile.

Given that the regular version of the show regularly pulled in nearly half a million viewers, the news comes as a huge blow to the station.

"There were a series of meetings where they met with the producers to try and sort something out but it was a case of too little, too late," said an insider.

"They had a main sponsor for the show alright but they needed someone to sponsor the smaller tasks and there wasn't enough time.

"They had some great names lined up to take part, including a well known Munster rugby player. But these are hard times and it's difficult getting funding."

ShinAwil's executive producer Larry Bass said last night: "We needed to have high-calibre celebrities but we required them to make a time commitment for a full month. Also for the show to work we have to have different personality types. It was just not possible at this time to assemble 10 such personalities for the period of month."

However, the Herald can reveal that ShinAwil have devised a plan to film a shorter celebrity-driven Apprentice show once production on the regular programme is complete at the end of the summer.