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Itsamoomoo30 November 2004
First off, I have to say that my whole family loves this show and I said to everyone "This is a hit." I don't keep up with ratings or listen to critics so it was only recently that I learned it was "failing" in the ratings big time. Whoa. I was very surprised to learn that.

I think it's a great show and I think the reason it isn't doing well is because of the show's title. Pure and simple it's too long. Even I couldn't remember the name of the show and when I would look it up on the satellite TV listings I didn't know if I had the correct show or not. It's not a one word reality show like "Survivor" or "Apprentice" if you know what I mean, and that was a mistake.

Anyway, what a show!! I think Richard Branson is like a modern day Willy Wonka who's a bit twisted in how he's treating his "guests." He's got a crazed look in his eyes so I don't exactly like him yet. But I am compelled to watch just the same!! I don't particularly like the cast except for Sarah, but that doesn't matter. It's the STUNTS each person has to do that has my mouth drop open every time. The stuff Branson has these people do are OUTRAGEOUS and just plain crazy. Dangerous, too. And so I have to keep watching each week just to see what the next stunt is. So far I have NOT been disappointed.

I like the show's theme music and I always hold my breath to see who's being left behind when the plane leaves on the next adventure. I am sure if lame people would stop making comparisons to the Apprentice - another excellent show - people would see how good this show can be.

Fox, don't pull the plug on this show and leave us hanging like you did with your other reality show "Playing it Straight." You have the best reality shows but you treat your viewers like as if we don't know when we're being swindled.

I will forever remember this show.
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Not a good show
roller92km29 November 2006
I watched the first few episodes of this show. The only reason I stuck with it was because I had the misfortune of being at Victoria Falls the day they were filming there. They pushed me and the rest of my group around and basically were extremely rude to us. I wanted to see if we accidentally made it into the show, and for a quick second we did. But besides that, the show was terrible. The premise was a little far fetched, and the different tasks that each team had to do were dumb. I also was not a fan of Branson's 'tests'. Basically it was to find out how stupid the contestants were, or how crazy they were. All in all, its just another stupid reality TV show.
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In trying to recreate the success of "The Apprentice", Fox (and ABC) revert back to style-less, personality devoid, dumbed-down, popularity contests
liquidcelluloid-123 April 2005
Genre: Game show, reality; Content Rating: TV-PG; Classification: Contemporary (star range: 1 - 4);

Seasons Reviewed: Series (1 season)

This is actually a review of both Fox's "The Rebel Billionaire" and ABC's "The Benefactor" because both are essentially the same and both are essentially rip-offs of NBC's "The Apprentice". Both also simultaneously got the idea that the way to compete with Mark Burnett's classy monster hit was to take the action out of the boardroom, out of the office and indeed out of New York and have its contests compete in daring stunts to get in the good graces of their chosen billionaires. At the same time too, who would have thunk it. It file this under Fox's Richard Branson opus because "The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best" is just too hilarious a title to not have in my comment list. Fox's globe-trotting spectacle also boasts "the biggest prize in reality show history". Not just an apprenticeship or a big wad of cash but "his job". Fan yourself to keep from fainting.

While this may begin to sound like comments that should belong in my jumble-packed review of "The Apprentice", but it only underscores the fact that in the copy machine world of TV, remakes and imitations only succeed in making you appreciate how good the original product really is. Neither of these shows can touch "The Apprentice". Not by a long shot.

The first of which is that Richard Branson and Mark Cuban are no Donald Trump. That is the big thing. The laid back, sandal-wearing, Hawaiian-shirted, president of Virgin Corp., Richard Branson is the likable one of the two daredevil billionaires. Cuban is the lesser known owner of the Dallas Mavericks, a guy who made his money in the dot com boom and an overgrown baby. Yet, even with Branson's perennial happy-go-lucky smile neither of these guys have the personality to drive a show. What we like about Trump is his bluntness. These guys are wacky by definition but seem too afraid of offending anyone to be interesting. Branson gives away a ticket to the task winner to board his private plane and head off to another adventure. He over-dramatically puts his hands on the loser's shoulders like a father sending his only son into the volcano.

Cuban is far worse. This show boats the concept that it doesn't take a final showdown to kick someone out, that Cuban can do it any time. But this guy is so completely inept at host duties and, even communicating with these people, that when he awkwardly tells people to leave there is an equally awkward pause where the person appears to be trying to figure out if this clown actually means what he says and really has the power to send them packing. Compared to the creative tasks of "Apprentice" and the adventure of "Branson", Cuban's gauntlet of tasks includes spying on them making conversation and actually playing Jenga on TV in attempts to discern their personality. Yes, you see, the prize in both these shows is given based on who the hosts like the most. Who they personally believe is the most creative or commanding or personable. It regresses back to an arbitrary popularity contest where "Apprentice" has leaped forward as a show about doing the job and getting results.

Secondly, personality is everything. Not just in host but in contestants. Donald Trump has a reputation such that he attracts a certain group of people. The contestants on "Apprentice" have personality, love them or hate them. We have people to root for (and against). The people that flock to these two shows aren't big Mark Cuban or Richard Branson followers, they are just typical reality show money-grubbers.

"The Apprentice" transcends its material. It's not personal, it's just business, but it's not just business, it's life. It is a look into how different people behave under pressure, how they solve problems and why the American corporate structure is the way it is on an individual, scale. "The Benefactor" and "Branson's Quest" are simply overblown stunt shows. We are told these guys took huge gambles and risked it all to win their fortune and if these contestants can skydive, make interesting conversation, spend the night in an African savanna, write lengthy essays about why they should win, cliff jump and possibly even go over Niagara Falls in a steel barrel – only then will they get the fortune. It is "Fear Factor" without the gross-out gags.

"The Apprentice" is more than the standard reality show, particularly in the production area. The music, the sleek visual style and sharp editing make it the most unique looking and atmosphere engulfing reality show on the air. It is exciting from beginning to end. Apparently ABC and Fox haven't picked up that style and suspense should also be part of the package.

"Benefactor" was put out of its misery early. "Quest" was dragged out to a long, tiresome 2 hour finale. Another in Fox's bloated rip-off reality show failures. The clones came and Trump destroyed them all. Let's hope this is a quickly learned lesson for the networks about trying to ride the wave of this particular show with their own dumbed down versions. Duplicated but not equaled, "The Apprentice" is still the best reality show on TV.

"The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best" & "The Benefactor" - * ½ / 4
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Trying my BEST to explain AND understand!!
IMDJK17 January 2005
First let me say that I HOPE I was supposed to check the spoiler box. I'm ASSUMING that means to check it even if what I'm writing MIGHT be a future part of a plot or something. ( And/or if I think it is not appropriate for everyone to see). If I am mistaken on this please don't blacklist me as it is/would be an honest mistake on my part. Please just notify me if I've misunderstood. Having said that I will TRY to explain what's going on within me, ha, ha!

It was only by a FLUKE that I happened to catch the last episode of this show as I didn't even know it existed. Something struck a serious CHORD within me and I was totally engrossed. I truly hope that you don't think I'm your "average lunatic" for what I'm about to say but I have SEEN that location in my minds eye as well as that particular KEY. In fact, it was the KEY that attracted my eye in the FIRST place. I was practically screaming, "NO, Richard, don't give away the key and I FELT that the final decision would be yours, (meaning Richard),anyway. I guess the INSTINCT that I was feeling was that Shaun wanted it the most, or had the more PASSIONATE or HEARTFELT desire for it. Okay, TRYING to sum it up, I don't know if you acknowledge KARMA or VISIONARIES, all I know is that I HAVE seen that KEY and have even WALKED through the HALLS there when it was very quiet..looking for SOMETHING but not sure what. In my "DREAMS" PRIOR to the show there was a young blonde woman and a young man and that is all I MYSELF know. Myself, I am a CREDITED writer/singer/and CERTIFIED HYPNOTHERAPIST though I'll admit that to date I've not made much FINANCIALLY through my works. In fact, none except through my LOCAL singing. Yes, I have pride and am not much one for pleading, therefore I ALMOST find MYSELF at a loss of words. At this point I can only hope that I am following guidelines and will not be lightly disregarded or misunderstood. "Running on HEART, SOUL, FAITH, and HOPING for the SOUND of FREEDOM WINGS". Again, thank you for listening? P.S. Don't know much about HTML. Hope this is correct.

Okay, I guess I lied (not), ha! I've found that I have more room for comment. On a more practical level and back to the ONLY episode I saw, here are some of my perceptions. Please bear in mind that I had a lot going on I'm my own household at the time and, VERY unusual for me, I not only REFUSED to let anyone distract me from the television but INSPIRED all the other household traffic to watch as well. So having TRIED to enlighten you from MY little world, let me try to explain the three names, other than Richard, that captured my attention and why.

The names from the best of my memory banks are GABRIEL, SARAH, and SHAUN. Gabe first because I like the name as it reminds me of the ARCHANGEL. Secondly because the young man himself is very captivating.

SARAH because the name rang a bell in my mind, even before I knew which one she was. (I did NOT catch the very beginning of the show). I simply FELT that she was one of the blonds and later came to recognize her face in connection with her talents.

SHAUN because of the aforesaid as well as his youth and emotion concerning the show.

Oh goodness, and there was one more young blonde at the end. I'm sorry to say that I cannot remember her name, only that she seemed of a very sweet essence.

At the risk of saying the EYE word again, I think that the words EMPATHY, EMPATHIC, and/or EMPATHETIC are very underestimated. At least in the English language. Sincerely, Deb
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