Talk about perfect timing. Donald Trump kicked off a brand new season of the hit NBC series The Apprentice last night during the same week that Trump Entertainment Resorts (NASDAQ:TRMP) began trading publicly.

It's a new name and new ticker symbol for Trump's same old casino company, which owns the same four gaming resorts that it had when it buckled under its burdensome debt load and filed for bankruptcy. As in all reorganizations, hope and amnesia spring eternal. Then again, companies given a second crack at life sometimes bounce back, armed with the opportunity to give it a go with more accommodating balance sheets.

However, I remember when Trump's primetime show first took off and folks bid up shares of DJT. I'm guessing investors figured that Trump's heightened celebrity status would fill his casinos with high rollers. It didn't exactly work out that way. Vegas has it all over Atlantic City.

It's a mistake that viewers aren't likely to repeat. Yesterday, shares of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE:MSO) fell 6% despite the series premiere of her own version of The Apprentice the night before.

But don't be so quick to judge Trump's success based on his public face. Many of the juiciest parts of his corporate empire remain privately held. It's an IPO that I know I wouldn't mind taking a closer look at should Trump ever decide to take the rest of his empire public.

Last night's show? Not bad. As usual, product placement played a heavy role as companies paid to embed themselves in the primetime challenges. In the first episode, it was Bally Total Fitness (NYSE:BFT), the largest fitness center chain in a $13 billion industry, receiving the marketing workout. A future episode featuring Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) should be really interesting.

Even if you despise reality television in general -- or Trump in particular -- the show offers an interesting perspective on the publicly traded companies that parade themselves through the program. As Tim Beyers worded it so well yesterday, The Apprentice is an "extreme business" show.

Last night, the first of the show's 18 candidates was fired. I won't ruin it for those of you who have it sitting on TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) to watch over the weekend. Let's just say that the offing was well earned. One lesson and one applicant down; 16 more lessons and 16 more applicants to go.

TiVo is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz will be watching more often than not this season. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story and is a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock a day early.