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'Celebrity Apprentice' rehired by NBC next season

NEW YORK -- Donald Trump will be firing more stars next yearwhen "Celebrity Apprentice" returns for another round.

NBC announced Wednesday that it's rehiring Trump for a ninthseason of the reality series, scheduled to air in spring 2010.

Production is expected to begin this fall, when 16yet-to-be-named celebrities meet and compete in business-orientedchallenges. All but one will eventually hear Trump tell them,"You're fired!"

Other details from NBC's 2009-10 season (and the fall prime-timeschedule) will be formally unveiled by the network on Monday.

Although none of the celebrities for the forthcoming"Apprentice" were identified, deals already are in place with "acouple" of them, Trump said in an interview. "We turn down fivefor every one we take."

The news of more "Celebrity Apprentice" came as the show'scurrent season heads into its home stretch. Country music's ClintBlack, poker champ Annie Duke, former "Monster Garage" host JesseJames, Playboy pinup Brande Roderick and comedian Joan Riversremain in contention.

The finale will air Sunday, May 10, at 8 p.m. EDT.

The current season has demonstrated the series' durability,drawing an average of 8.6 million viewers each week.

"There's something very captivating about having a majorsuccess with a television show," said Trump, a business mogul whoclinched star status of his own when he premiered "TheApprentice" in January 2004.

"I've learned from it," he said. "I've learned watching whatpeople do under pressure. I love to see how people react undergreat stress."

For example, he marveled at the eruption by Joan Rivers on lastweek's show after her daughter, Melissa, was fired. Blasting theplayers who allegedly had plotted her daughter's downfall, Riverscalled Roderick a "stupid blonde" and Duke a "white trash"poker player.

"That was an interesting reaction," Trump said. "I thoughtJoan would be much different than that."

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