New season to air in the fall

File under duh: NBC has picked up a second season of its Mark Burnett-produced reality hit “The Apprentice.”

Skein, which features Donald Trump and a cast of wannabe moguls, has been the first smash NBC has launched on Thursday nights since “Will & Grace.” Its first three segs have averaged a 9.4 rating/23 share in adults 18-49, making it an immediate top 5 show in the demo.

New season will air in the fall, with Trump returning as the “master.” It’s expected “The Apprentice” will air two cycles per season.

“Donald Trump and Mark Burnett are the most potent force in television today, and I’m thrilled to say that ‘The Apprentice’ will have an appointment on NBC for many years to come,” said NBC entertainment/news/cable chief Jeff Zucker.

Burnett said the success of “The Apprentice” is proof “that the American audience enjoys good stuff.”

“If you work extra hard to produce a good TV show, the public will respond,” he said. “It’s a great validation for my team.”

Burnett said he’s not worried about the possibility of doing two cycles of “Apprentice” per season.

“I thought ‘Survivor’ should be just once a year and Leslie Moonves proved it was fine to do it twice a year,” he said. “There’s no reason to assume it’ll be any different with ‘The Apprentice.’ “

“The Apprentice” is produced by Mark Burnett Prods. in association with Trump Prods.. CAA-repped Burnett and Trump are exec producers; Conrad Riggs is also producer on the project.

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