Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart has hit back at criticism of her axed US reality show The Apprentice, insisting that competing with tycoon Donald Trump was "unfair".

THE APPRENTICE: MARTHA STEWART failed to match the popularity of the original show fronted by Trump, and NBC executives dropped the TV series in December (05).

But Stewart insists she has no chance of winning an audience after Trump allegedly went back on his word to carry on fronting a rival show.

She tells Newsweek, "Having two Apprentices was as unfair to him as it was unfair to me. But Donald really wanted to stay on."

However, Trump has rubbished her argument, maintaining Stewart's version of the boardroom competition lacked an appropriate tone and demeanour.

He says, "I wish she would be able to take responsibility for her failure."