Third season of 'The Apprentice' ends on 19 May

 MUMBAI: US broadcaster NBC has announced that the finale of the third season of its business-based reality show The Apprentice will take place on 19 May.

Unlike the second season's much bemoaned three-hour finale and reunion last December, this swan song will only last an hour.

The finale will feature the culmination of the final two tasks and the eagerly anticipated live boardroom hiring. NBC's Thursday night also will be highlighted by the season finale of the hospital drama ER including the emotional departure of original cast member Noah Wyle as a series regular. In India, The Apprentice airs on Star World.

The host of the show, real estate magnate Donald Trump who also serves as the show's executive producer, says, "I was insistent on having a one-hour finale this season. Viewers want the live boardroom and they want to witness the excitement of the hiring. And that will be our focus this season-the completion of the task and the final live boardroom showdown."

Making the announcement from the atrium of Trump Tower in New York City, Trump revealed today that Bill Rancic, the original Apprentice winner whose one-year contract expires on 15 April, would receive a one-year contract extension with The Trump Organisation. In addition to Rancic's existing responsibilities overseeing the construction of Trump Tower in Chicago, his expanded duties will include strategic development of other Trump properties across the country and in Mexico.

Trump also confirmed that Rancic would return to the boardroom during season four of The Apprentice filling in for George Ross and Carolyn Kepcher when they are on business trips. Trump added, "Bill has done an incredible job in the past year working for me. He is so talented that I thought he might want to go out on his own and make millions. We're lucky to have him back for another year and I can rest assured that my Chicago project is in the best of hands."

An elated Rancic said, "I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr Trump has afforded me in the past year. He has truly taken me under his wing and exposed me to his distinct and incredibly successful way of doing business. It will be a privilege to spend another year with him."

Meanwhile, Trump says that he feels very badly for Chris Shelton, the 22-year-old Apprentice candidate who was recently arrested for disorderly conduct at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, Florida. Trump has even offered to be there for Shelton.

Trump says, "He has got a problem. An anger management problem. We talked about it on the show. He truly is an angry guy." Real estate millionaire Shelton frequently screams during boardroom sessions. During a pizza-selling task Shelton engaged in an expletive-filled spat with teammate Alex Thomason. Trump said that Shelton's fired-up temperament will again be on display during Thursday's episode. "By chance, it happens to involve Chris to a large extent. He has a very interesting time on the show," added Trump.

Shelton was arrested in Florida after causing a scene over being asked to pay a $20 cover charge to enter the hotel bar. After several attempts by staff to calm Shelton, he continued to yell and curse, a police report said. He was released after posting $250 bail. Expressing sympathy Rancic was quoted in an AP report saying, "You've got to cut him a little slack because he's young. He's just got to chill out."

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