Before her version of “The Apprentice” began, Martha Stewart thought she was saying “you’re fired” to Donald Trump.
While “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” hasn’t done well in the ratings, Stewart initially had much higher hopes — even that her NBC show would eclipse Trump’s original.
“I thought I was replacing The Donald,” Stewart says in the Nov. 14 issue of Fortune magazine, on newsstands Nov. 7. “It was even discussed that I would be firing The Donald on the first show.”
When did Trump learn that she intended to bump him off his own show? “I don’t think he ever knew,” Stewart tells the magazine.
Instead, Trump remained for a fourth season, and he has recently suggested that his show has been diminished by Stewart’s. Trump’s “Apprentice” has been averaging around 10 million viewers a week, down 4 million from last season. Stewart’s “Apprentice” is drawing closer to 7 million viewers.
“I think there was confusion between Martha’s ‘Apprentice’ and mine, and mine continues to do well and ... the other has struggled very severely,” Trump said recently on a radio program. “I think it probably hurt mine and I sort of predicted that it would.”
Stewart also reveals in Fortune another unrealized business plan: to buy Kmart. In 2002, while the retail giant was going bankrupt, Stewart floated the idea — dubbed “Kmartha” — of buying the company, which sells her Martha Stewart Everyday brand.
Stewart, 64, also says she plans to sell Turkey Hill, her famous Westport, Conn., home. “I hardly ever go there anymore. I don’t miss it.”
After serving five months in jail for lying about a 2001 stock sale, which was followed by nearly six months of house arrest, the lifestyle guru says she feels resilient.
“I have learned that I really cannot be destroyed.”