This is a big week coming up for Mark Burnett. On Sunday Survivor: Vanuatu concludes with a 3-hour climax/reunion show, and four days later The Apprentice 2 clocks out with a 3-hour swan song. But today, the reality giant's got some explaining to do about both shows' rocky seasons.TV Guide Online: The Apprentice's ratings are down over last season. Why?
Mark Burnett: The ratings aren't actually down, they're just settling. Look at Survivor. Season 1 had the biggest ratings and then it settled down [in Season 2]. If The Apprentice [stays at] this number, we'll all be very happy. TVGO: Do you think casting is to blame? There are no Omarosas this year.
Burnett: Again, the best example is Survivor. After Richard Hatch, Susan Hawk and Rudy... you can never do the same ratings. All of these expert opinions, if only they could come up with their own f---ing show. If they could get half my ratings they'd be doing OK. TVGO: You think Stacie J. got a raw deal?
Burnett: She didn't get a raw deal. [Trump]'s looking to hire somebody and everyone was saying she had bad judgment and cracked under pressure. They turned that into calling her crazy, [but] that's a very loose [interpretation] of the word. TVGO: What about Jennifer C. getting fired from her real job for her "fat Jewish lady" crack?
Burnett: As much as I love my adopted country, people really overreact about that stuff here. I think maybe she should have had a better choice of words, but I don't think you can say she's a bigot. There's a big difference between being a bigot and having poor judgment. TVGO: Would you think twice before including a comment like that in the future?
Burnett: Not really, because then it no longer becomes art. It becomes a sanitized form of art. Next, we start burning books. TVGO: It's becoming increasingly obvious that some of Trump's boardroom remarks are being spliced in after the fact. Can't you do anything to improve the dubbing process?
Burnett: There is no dubbing outside the boardroom. It's your imagination. TVGO: How do you explain his abrupt pitch fluctuations?
Burnett: Well, there's editing. The boardroom sometimes takes over two hours and there's no question that we're trying to compress it into [a few minutes]. So it's possible that there's a change in his inflection and that's what you're noticing. TVGO: Any shockers during Thursday's finale?
Burnett: I don't know the outcome, but the whole lead-up to it will make you really scratch your head. There are a set of twists that are not manufactured. They're all about the personalities. TVGO: Switching to Survivor, despite the high ratings, the first two months of Vanuatu were a bore.
Burnett: It happened to be a season where a bunch of [weak] people banded together and eliminated the strong. It's a very unusual, ass-backwards way of playing the game. That's probably what you're reacting to. TVGO: Ever think about including more than one black man or woman in the cast?
Burnett: I didn't grow up in this country so I'm not stuck in this political correctness. It wouldn't matter to me if I had nine African-Americans or if I had six. It depends on what's the best casting. I don't go out there with quotas. TVGO: Will the finale make up for the dull first half?
Burnett: It's unbelievable. You couldn't even write what's gonna happen. You'd never believe it. TVGO: Is Jeff Probst going to parachute in?
Burnett: There'll be a very elaborate Jeff arrival.