RTL TV names its ‘Big Boss’

Soccer prexy Rainer Calmund heads 'Apprentice' skein

COLOGNE — RTL TV has announced that soccer manager Rainer Calmund will take the part of Donald Trump in the German version of “The Apprentice,” which is due to start later this fall.

Calmund only recently retired from his long-held position as managing director of soccer club Bayer Leverkusen, which he shaped from a second-league unit to a team that figures among Europe’s most renowned clubs.

Produced by Grundy Light Entertainment, the show’s German title, “Big Boss,” bears direct reference to the 55-year old heavyweight, who is famous for his down-to-earth humour. “Calmund combines mercantile and emotional wit in a unique way,” RTL’s head of entertainment Tom Saenger said.

In contrast to Donald Trump, however, Calmund does not own a company to offer a job for the successful candidate. Instead, RTL offers a prize of E250,000 ($300,000) to the winner to start his own business.

“Big Boss” will be facing direct competition from Dutch tycoon John de Mol, who has announced a similar format on German TV, called “Hire and Fire”. Aired on Haim Sabam’s web ProSieben, “Hire and Fire” will even come somewhat closer to the prize of “The Apprentice,” as de Mol will give the winner a position in his new production shingle.