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The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best

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The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best
GenreReality television
Written by
  • Tod Dahlke
  • Laura Fuest
  • Lori Levin-Hyams
Directed by
  • Leslie Garvin
  • Sean Travis
Opening theme"Live and Let Die" by Butch Walker[1]
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Executive producers
  • Tess Gamboa
  • Denise Alvarado
  • Darren Roth
  • Dave Neglia
  • Jeff Schmidt
  • Bechara 'Bicha' Gholam
  • Danny Kon
  • Farzin Toussi
  • Mark Jungjohann
  • Marc McCrudden
  • Chris Collins
  • James Gavin Bedford
  • Larry Druker
  • Todd R. Lewis
  • Matt McCartie
  • Jeff Savenick
  • Joe Shugart
Production companyBunim/Murray Productions
Original release
ReleaseNovember 9, 2004 (2004-11-09) –
January 11, 2005 (2005-01-11)

The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best is a reality show for Fox Broadcasting Company's fall 2004 season.


The premise for the series was that billionaire Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, challenges 16 contestants to tasks that will prove to him which is most qualified to take over as president of Virgin. This format is strongly derivative of popular NBC reality show The Apprentice, though as well as business-related tasks it also incorporated many tough physical challenges, reflecting Branson's love of daredevil stunts. Each week also saw the contestants travel to a different country, whereas The Apprentice is just situated in one area. Shawn Nelson was the winner.


The one-hour show premiered on November 9, 2004 on the Fox network, and aired 12 episodes through January 2005.[2] Although the show had over 5.5 million viewers, it was considered a ratings disappointment for American television prime-time programming.[3] The show found ratings success internationally though, airing in 19 countries around the world, ranking as the #1 show in many countries where Richard Branson does business.[4] The Rebel Billionaire also reran on the Fox Reality Channel.


(as they appeared on the show & in order of elimination)[5]

Contestant Occupation
Shawn Nelson (Winner) Founder of LoveSac Corporation
Sara Blakely Founder of Spanx, Inc.
Heather Maclean Founder of Little Laureate Inc.
Gabriel Baldinucci Real Estate Investor
Erica Vilardi Model
Nicole Harvat Labor Attorney
Candida Tolentino Founder of Earth Cafe Living Foods
Steve Berke Real Estate Manager/Tennis Pro
Jessica McCann Former Owner of Sales Company
Michael Zindell Wall Street Strategist
Jermaine Jamison Technology Sales Specialist/Motivational Speaker
Sam Heshmati Financial Analyst
Jennifer Grinspan Radio Station Advertising Manager
Tim Hudson Trial Attorney
Aisha Krump Pharmaceutical sales representative
Spencer Car Salesman


Country Broadcaster
 Australia Channel Seven
 Belgium Plug TV
 Brazil FX
 Canada Global TV
 China International Channel Shanghai
 Egypt OTV
 Estonia TV3
 Hong Kong TVB Pearl
 Kenya KTN
 Latvia TV3
 Lithuania TV3
 Malaysia 8TV
 New Zealand TV3
 Philippines Studio 23
 South Africa MNET Series
 Sweden TV8 (Broadcast during the end of 2007 and again from March 2009)
 Turkey FX
 United Kingdom ITV2
 United States Fox
 Venezuela FX


  1. ^ "The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best". Yahoo TV. Yahoo!. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
  2. ^ "Rebel Billionaire". Internet Movie Database.
  3. ^ "The Rebel Billionaire Struggles in Debut". Reality TV World. November 16, 2004.
  4. ^ "The Rebel Billionaire dominates its timeslot". Seven, Australia media company.
  5. ^ "Fox Reveals Identities of Rebel Billionaire Contestants" (Press release). Fox. November 3, 2004.

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