The Apprentice: Scott Duncan
Gary Susman
April 20, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Wondering if cigar salesman Bill Rancic can pull off his new job as project manager of the construction of a Chicago hotel for new mentor Donald Trump? Would you like to watch him try? NBC thinks you might. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the network is mulling an ”Apprentice” spinoff that would trace contest winner Rancic’s progress on the skyscraper project. No deal is yet in place for a new series, but ”Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett told the Reporter that a Rancic spinoff ”seems like a fairly obvious choice.”

Possible format ideas for the show include having Rancic deliver a weekly progress report to The Donald and maybe even having him hire some of his former ”Apprentice” rivals. (See, there’s no getting rid of Omarosa.) Not that the project is lacking for drama; the New York Times reports that there are plenty of obstacles (besides Rancic’s inexperience) that could doom the $700 million skyscraper. Its financing has yet to come through, and so does final approval from Chicago’s City Hall. On top of that, there’s Trump’s $2 billion in bond debt surrounding his casino holdings, as well as management trouble for his partner in the project, Hollinger International, whose former chief executive, Conrad Black, resigned in November amid reports that he’d diverted millions in payments to himself. Trump, however, insisted to the Times that financing and City Hall approval are nearly in place. ”This thing is happening,” he said.

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