President Trump? 'We think it's a stunt,' says an NBC exec


Image Credit: Ali Goldstein/NBC

Donald Trump will apparently be making a big political announcement on the May 22 season finale of Celebrity Apprentice. No, he won’t be saying whether or not he’ll be running for president, but instead he’ll supposedly be revealing the future date upon which he actually will announce whether he’s running for president. But let’s save everyone some time and get it over with now: He won’t be. He has never seriously considered a run for the White House. It was all a gigantic ratings stunt, a negotiating ploy to get NBC to cut a bigger paycheck when the time comes to sign up for another season of his suddenly popular again TV show. At least, that’s the only theory that makes any sense to us — and we’re not alone.

“We at the network have no idea whether Trump is serious about [running for president] or not,” one NBC exec tells EW. “He won’t tell even us — and we haven’t pushed because we’ve just decided it is whatever it is. If he wants to spout off about things, we’re happy to let him. But our inclination is that he’s not serious about running for president. We think it’s a stunt.”

It sure looks like one. There’s certainly nothing in Trump’s past that would hint at the suddenly super-conservative views he’s been bloviating about lately. On the contrary, he’s recently made some dramatic (and politically advantageous) philosophic U-turns. Today, for instance, he’s 100 percent pro-life. But in his 2000 book The America We Deserve, he described himself as pro-choice (“I support a woman’s right to choose but I am uncomfortable with the procedures”). Today, he’s against gay rights. But just a decade ago, while considering a run for president as a Reform Party candidate, he told the gay issues magazine The Advocate that he supported “a very strong domestic-partnership law,” insisting that “sexual orientation would be meaningless” if he were President of the United States.

Still, as stunts go, turning himself into a right-wing Obama-was-born-in-Kenya Tea Party knucklehead seems to be succeeding beyond even Trump’s wildest dreams. Since he started popping up on cable-news shows to question President Obama’s birth certificate — and espouse such neo-colonial positions as invading Libya, but only if we get to keep all their oil — ratings for The Celebrity Apprentice have been up as much as 20 percent. The show this season is averaging about 8 million viewers an episode, almost double last season’s audience (although still down from 2007’s first season of Celebrity Apprentice, which drew about 9 million viewers). That does give Trump some leverage with NBC. “If you look at our three biggest shows,” the NBC exec says, “it’s Biggest Loser, America’s Got Talent, and Celebrity Apprentice. Celebrity Apprentice is one of the very few shows we have that is in the zeitgeist and gets those kinds of numbers. So, we certainly want him back.”

Of course, Trump’s stunt has succeeded spectacularly in another way, as well. According to the latest CNN opinion poll, he’s now tied with Fox News personality Mike Huckabee as Republican voters’ No. 1 choice for presidential candidate in 2012. As incredible as it sounds, Trump actually has a shot at the Republican nomination.

You know, on second thought, maybe he will run after all.

Read more:
EW’s recaps of ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’
Donald Trump on ‘Good Morning America': I’ll release tax returns when Obama releases a birth certificate
President Trump. Could it really happen?

Comments (73 total) Add your comment
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  • chris

    disgusting, our country’s serious problems and future are now just simply boiled down to a trashy reality television element. this country really has turned to complete mush.

    • stu

      if it takes The Apprentice off the air then i say go for it. BUT i bet NBC will let his kids host w/ out daddy.

      • stu

        vote joan rivers for president!!!

      • Ryan

        By Trump’s logic (high ratings = higher chances of presidential ticket) Charlie Sheen should run for president…. heck, until people actually saw his show it looked like he COULD run, even if he had coke dripping from his nose. I still don’t understand what people were expecting when they bought tickets to that show… But that’s America for ya… Sheen for Prez!!!!

      • Razor

        That has to be one of the more astute ways of putting it that I’ve read in a while, Chris.

    • johnc

      I thought there would be no worse president than Obama, I was wrong.

      Trump may be worse than Obama!

      God helps America if Trump is really running and becomes the POTUS.

    • anonymous

      If Trump runs, then ROCK BOTTOM has definitely been reached.

    • Jean Guy Levesque

      Trump is a big fat CLOWN. Everytime he opens his mouth, I’m literally waiting for a brown piece of crap to fall out. Vive la Quebec!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jean Guy Levesque

      Trump keeps saying the world is laughing at the US. When the world sees Trump running for president, the world is busting a gut laughing at his hair. Vive la Quebec!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Angie

    During the 2008 election I jokingly said that the campaign was more entertaining than a reality show. I’m terrified that 2012 actually will become one.

  • JohnDoe

    The fact that Republicans seem to think he is just as capable as Mike Huckabee to win the presidency says a lot about where the GOP is at the moment in this country.

    • Ryan

      Just look at the condition of Huckabee’s 2 obese diabetes ridden sons. He’ll make the same horrible choices for prez that he did as a father.

    • johnc

      Using your logic, the fact that most liberals are still supporting Obama says a lot about the liberals in this country too.

  • Ethan

    In today’s edition of “What The Hell is Going On,” you can add this whole article, and the fact that NBC’s three biggest shows are Biggest Loser, America’s Got Talent, and Celebrity Apprentice.

    • Craig

      Good point, Ethan.

    • MultiPass

      Oh, the irony.

  • Smallville

    So he has already flip flopped on many issues huh? Sounds like a standard politican to me.

  • rachel

    I don’t think that Trump is serious. If he does run, great; Obama will be able to show us what he is capable of for four more years. If we let Bush control the US for 8 years, why not Obama?

  • x files

    In other words Obama’s fired and this country is dead!

    • Alyssa

      I know there are alot of stupid people out there in this country, but not enough to get this inflated head and his eye candy wife in office.

      • Denis

        I agree, Trump is one big Massengil Disposable DOUCHE LORD.

  • sam

    he was on the today show, i don’t see why he wouldn’t run — and btw, this past sunday’s ratings of apprentice hit a series low.

  • H

    A stunt? Oh gee, ya think?

  • Trump or dump

    Come on guys. Trump is just another big mouth guy.

  • lily

    seriously? there really needs to be a rule againt running for president if you have your own reality show, this is just making America look bad

    • Pan

      This country already IS looking bad doesn’t need much to make it worse.

    • etm

      “there really needs to be a rule against running for president if you have your own reality show”

      Lily, I couldn’t agree with you MORE!!!

    • Buffy Freak

      But then we could never have a President Kardashian, President Hilton or President Situation…

      • Peter

        Or Palin. Awesome!

    • UncleArthur

      He can’t run if his show is still on the air. It would violate equal time laws for his opponents. If Trump had two hours of TV each week in Prime Time, then Obama would have to be afforded equal time. Trump is a pompous bully and will never run. For one thing, he will never disclose his tax returns because he likes to exaggerate his wealth.

  • JPX

    Of course it’s a stunt. Trump does this every time there’s an election because he likes the publicity for his latest ventures. Trump would never disclose his finances, as required to be a presidential candidate.

  • Le Japanese HIROSHI

    I’m NOT American; so, just read it for fun if you like.

    – –

    I think Donald Trump is in a sense a very powerful man, one with a high level of confidence and leadership, as well. In general, he should be one of the good candidates for American presidency IF he wishes to work for the American public, first of all.

    – –

    Loved “The Apprentice” when one of my cables still had it back then. Too bad couldn’t watch Celebrity Apprentice now, though.

    • D

      Thank you

  • Beauty

    This guy is so full of himself it’s scary! I agree he probably has some reality show in the works where they follow him & his hair around.



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