Martha Stewart was Donald Trump's third choice to appear as a judge on the second series of THE APPRENTICE - and he doubts whether they can better the US TV show's first run.

The business tycoon had earmarked Virgin entrepreneur SIR Richard Branson or Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for the high profile position - but the pair became too busy with the launches of their own reality TV shows.

So Trump turned to long-term friend Stewart, who is looking to rebuild her career after completing a prison term and a period of house arrest following her conviction for lying about a stock sale.

Trump tells, "I did consider both of them along with Martha but both Cuban and Branson tried to copy The Apprentice and their shows failed miserably.

"Martha has been a friend for a long time, and I think she's going to do terrifically. But, it's going to be tough to beat the first Apprentice."