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Branson signs on for Fox reality show

Sir Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group, will be involved with a new Fox reality series.
/ Source: Reuters

Fired by Donald Trump?

Maybe Sir Richard Branson will hire you.

Mixing a bit of “Around the World in 80 Days” with Trump’s hit reality series “The Apprentice,” broadcaster Fox Thursday said it has signed a deal with Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, for a new U.S. television series tentatively called “Branson’s Big Adventure.”

The new series featuring the flamboyant billionaire impresario, best known to the American public for stunts like trying to circle the world alone in a balloon, is expected to debut later this year.

Fox, a unit of News Corp. Ltd., said Branson will take “a select group of America’s best and brightest” around the world, reliving his experiences and dealing with business dilemmas. Each week, the network said, one contestant will be left behind while the others continue to globetrot.

“The Apprentice,” in which groups of aspiring young businesspeople are assigned various corporate tasks in an effort to impress Trump and win a job at one of his companies, has been a breakout hit for the NBC network and made the billionaire real estate developer a pop icon.

But Fox was quick to distance itself from Trump’s series, which has charged its players with projects like running a lemonade stand and representing an artist at a gallery show.

“This isn’t about selling a glass of lemonade,” Fox’s top reality executive, Mike Darnell, said in a statement. “In six weeks, these people will experience challenges and adventures beyond their wildest imagination.”

Branson has founded and run a diverse group of companies in his career, from a record label and a retail chain to an airline and a wireless phone company.