The ax falls on the domestic diva's Apprentice, proving it a one-season wonder

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 14, 2005 07:40 AM

It’s curtains for The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, the domestic diva’s spinoff of Donald Trump’s popular reality show.

Stewart’s ratings-challenged version will fade out for good with this first season’s special two-hour finale on Dec. 21, after 13 episodes, according to trade reports.

A spokesman for NBC told the Hollywood Reporter that the Stewart show had always been conceived as a one-season shot.

Stewart and producer Mark Burnett – who’s also responsible for Trump’s Apprentice and CBS’s Survivor, as well as Stewart’s daytime Martha – launched the homemaking entrepreneur’s prime-time boardroom show shortly after her release from prison and subsequent home confinement for having lied to federal investigators regarding a 2001 stock sale.

But Stewart’s Nielsen numbers were tepid from the start, beginning with only 7.1 million viewers for the Sept. 21 premiere, according to the media research service. So far this season, says the Reporter, the show has averaged 6.8 million viewers. (Martha, meanwhile, has experienced fair to middling ratings since its September bow.)

Meanwhile, Trump, who has distanced his Apprentice from Stewart’s version as her ratings continued to flag, will be back for two more seasons of his boardroom show, reports the New York Post. His show reportedly averages 10 million viewers a week, a drop from last season’s 14 million.

Earlier this month, Stewart, 64, told Fortune magazine that when she revved up her show, she was under the impression that she would be replacing Trump’s version. “It was even discussed that I would be firing The Donald on the first show,” she told the magazine.

Retorted Trump, 59, on a radio show: “I think there was confusion between Martha’s Apprentice and mine, and mine continues to do well and … the other has struggled very severely. I think it probably hurt mine, and I sort of predicted that it would.”