NBC's Apprentice of boxing, The Contender, finally debuted Monday night, and producer Mark Burnett probably wishes he'd gone with his first idea: having Donald Trump put on some shorts that go up to his waist so that henchwoman Carolyn could pummel him for an hour every week. You can almost feel the spit-spray as the mouthguard flying out of this flack's maw as he's forced to defend the show's weak debut ratings:
NBC spokesman Tom Bierbaum said "Contender" performed as well as NBC expected. "This is a pretty good, strong number for any show against this competition," he said.
No one's talking cancellation yet (well, we are), but somewhere, a bedridden Sylvester Stallone is trying to chew off his own tongue and begging NBC head Jeff Zucker to put him down like a crippled dog. Just do it, Jeff, before his cartoonishly greedy family gets back from Disney.
- NBC's 'Contender' starts slow in round one [LAT, sub. req'd.]