TV’s love affair with makeovers is usually confined to people and properties, and occasionally restaurants.
Seven’s new 7 part series The Mentor broadens the field with small businesses in real estate, salons, fashion, retail and more. Mark Bouris, best known for 4 seasons of The Celebrity Apprentice (+ 1 of The Apprentice) now fronts a new format on a new network.
Never one to do things by halves, Bouris even pitched his own format to Seven producing a showreel. Sometimes in business you have to back yourself.
The first episode centres around family-owned Moreton Bay real estate company Ubiquitous (it turns out the name was chosen after 26 year old daughter Stephanie heard it on Sunrise). But mum Sharon, Dad Erich and brother Curtis are struggling. They lost millions in the global financial market and now struggle to crack a sale from their home office.
Even worse, they bicker over organisational duties (sometimes in front of clients) and their website has over the top videos starring frustrated performer Stephanie.
Mark (no longer referred to as Mr. Bouris) doesn’t like what he sees when he arrives, instantly identifying a lack of leadership as underpinning their problem. There are 4 loose stages to his 5 day quick fix: a Pressure Test in which he views them in action through cameras; The Experts, in which experienced professionals provide advice (doesn’t that make them the mentor?); The Deal, a boardroom assessment and ultimatum; and Launch, a public rebranding event.
“I’m not going to sugar coat it. I’m here to tell you the real shit,” Bouris tells Sharon & her family.
Amongst the ‘Ubiquitous’ family, daughter Stephanie provides all the drama. She blindly believes she is company’s best asset, with overt claims and an inability to accept criticism. Mum Sharon is torn between her experience and love for her daughter to shine. Alas dad and brother provide very little to the company and even less as TV talent.
Bouris test-drives the company name with the locals on the street, brings in a Ray White superstar and successfully gets to the heart of what is holding the family back. With his “tough love” approach Bouris is again the straight shooter he was in Celebrity Apprentice -TV can thank Donald Trump and Gordon Ramsay for perfecting such. Thankfully the show is not all about pushing brand Bouris, with enough scenes that capture family tension. But there is an affiliated business network website which no doubt is another chance for Bouris Inc. to profit.
The production values here give this a “grass-roots” feel and I felt it somewhat ironic that with some TV mentoring (Mark Burnett anyone?) it might tick a few more boxes that would better suit a primetime audience. The Mentor is not a bad little show -at least it comes without the abuse that is associated with some profile shows of late- but I’m not entirely sold on whether it stands up as primetime fare.
And why didn’t Mr. Bouris tell the ladies not to work barefoot on the job?
The Mentor airs 9pm Monday on Seven.