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Last Updated: Friday, 16 April, 2004, 08:28 GMT 09:28 UK
Trump chooses winning Apprentice
Bill Rancic and Donald Trump
Bill Rancic will be moulded by Donald Trump
Billionaire Donald Trump picked cigar entrepreneur Bill Rancic as the winner of his hit reality show The Apprentice, telling him "you're hired".

Rancic, 32, beat finalist Kwame Jackson to land a $250,000 (139,356) salary working in Mr Trump's business.

The Apprentice has proved a ratings success for the NBC network, regularly attracting 20 million viewers as 16 candidates were whittled down to one.

Property developer Mr Trump even coined his own catchphrase - "you're fired".

Over 13-weeks the contestants were put through a series of tasks to see how they coped in the world of multi-national corporations.

"It's not a game," Mr Trump declared. "It's a 13-week job interview."

Mr Rancic had already founded a successful internet cigar company before going on the show.


"Today is a great day for entrepreneurs around the country," Mr Rancic told a news conference after his win.

"The American dream is still alive out there, and hard work will get you there. You don't necessarily need to have an Ivy League education or to have millions of dollars startup money.

"It can be done with an idea, hard work and determination."

The Apprentice
The candidates had to show guts and determination
The final saw Mr Rancic and Mr Jackson given the challenge of organising high profile events, a pop concert and a golf tournament. Both encountered a number of mishaps.

As Mr Rancic's reward he will return to his Chicago home to manage the construction of a hotel and residential tower as president of one of Mr Trump's companies.

But he will have Mr Trump keeping a close eye on him.

"Don't worry, you're going to have plenty of supervision of that building, I don't care if you're president or not," Mr Trump told him. "I'll be the one supervising."

Mr Trump told runner-up Mr Jackson, 29, that he had been a worthy contender.

Big success

"Kwame, I think you have an amazing future," said Mr Trump.

"You're a brilliant guy, great education, and I have no doubt you're going to be a big success."

The series was created by Mark Burnett, the man behind Survivor.

The Apprentice has already been commissioned for another two series, while merchandise bearing the logo "you're fired" has also been a success.

The show has also launched Trump back into the limelight, even appearing as a guest host on Saturday Night Live.

Trump TV hit edges towards finale
13 Apr 04  |  Entertainment
Trump the winner in hit gameshow
19 Mar 04  |  Business

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