TV Show

The Benefactor (TV)

''Benefactor'' vs. ''Apprentice'': Mark Cuban explains

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Mark Cuban

The owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, Mark Cuban will be the Mr. Moneybags of The Benefactor (premieres on ABC, Monday, Sept. 13, at 8 p.m.), dangling a cool $1 million prize before a group of applicants whose only mission is to impress him. That may remind you of a certain reality show hosted by another brash billionaire. But Cuban, 46, maintains his show is different from Donald Trump’s hit The Apprentice. We asked him to explain why he’s in a billionaire boys club all his own.

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''The Benefactor'' is the Goof of the Week

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What on this spoiler-lovin’ earth is going on? When ABC sent out a preview tape of its Apprentice rip-off, The Benefactor, starring dotcom billionaire Mark Cuban, it further hobbled a show that doesn’t have a lot going for it to begin with (a tough Monday time slot, and did we mention that it’s an Apprentice rip-off?). After the credits and a few minutes of blank tape, ABC accidentally included a six-minute clip that clearly revealed which of the show’s 16 wannabes made the final four. ”We have no idea how this happened,” says an ABC spokesman.

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What to expect from the Fall 2004 TV season

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After watching clips of new series at the networks’ recent fall-lineup presentations, I feel prepared to offer some insta-assessments.

MOST PROMISING

Jack & Bobby (The WB) Not the Kennedys, but one of these young men (Matt Long and Logan Lerman) will grow up to be President. That’s the premise of this present-day drama about two high-school-age brothers, in a show from Greg Berlanti (”Everwood”) and Thomas Schlamme (”The West Wing”). It glows with warmth stoked by a fiery Christine Lahti (”Chicago Hope”) as the boys’ single mom.

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Can these new reality shows become the next ''Apprentice?''

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Before Donald Trump even utters his final ”you’re fired” this season, new shows are lining up to become the next Apprentice. Here, the applicants and their chances of filling the reality hit’s wingtips.

75% Chance

BRANSON’S BIG ADVENTURE (Fox) Mogul wannabes kiss up to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. A flamboyant tycoon! Challenges that mirror his rise to the top! Business types fighting for their professional lives! If only it had Carolyn and George.

50% Chance

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