Donald Trump Turned Host for 14 Seasons of NBC Reality TV Show ‘The Apprentice’ Earning $375,000 Per Show
Former President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, did hiring and firing in the NBC reality TV show, The Apprentice, prior to joining politics to Make America Great Again. His stint with the show lasted for 14 seasons, which began in 2004 and ended in February 2017. However, he was not a newbie to the screen having already portrayed roles in a few films.
Trump was already a "celebrity" who occasionally starred in cameos in films like Zoolander, Sex and the City, and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. He was a constant in the public eye before The Apprentice landed in his lap in 2004. The show featured aspiring entrepreneurs competing for Trump's approval, and it was premiered on NBC.
The show was created by a British entrepreneur, Mark Burnett, who produced a similar one in England. He approached Trump to star in the American version, although initially, the Republican candidate was skeptical, citing that reality TV "was for the bottom-feeders of society," as per NYC Walks.
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However, Burnett proposed Trump wouldn't play a different character but himself in the show- a successful entrepreneur with a luxurious lifestyle. This satisfied Trump, and he agreed to be a part of it. The 45th president was well aware of the power of reality TV, and it benefitted him as a larger American audience found him relevant through the small screen medium.
Despite saying he's public-shy, Trump fed on publicity, positive or negative, and the NBC show provided him with a platform to promote his various businesses to a broader audience. And he loved getting the "celebrity attention." The show ran in different formats across fifteen seasons since its inception in 2004.
The 77-year-old was part of fourteen seasons out of fifteen. The show crowned him the tag of a "celebrity," which fueled his reputation for future endeavors. He made $375,000 per show, and in 2007, he received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The politician took pleasure in humiliating and firing people on the show.
In fact, he even tried to trademark his signature sentence on the show, "You are fired," but had no luck. The ambitious Trump earned both name and fame by being a television personality, but he wasn't ready to stop there. Many people, including NBC head, believed his presidential success can be traced back to The Apprentice.
Paul Telegdy, NBC's president of late-night programming, admitted to the Hollywood Radio and Television Society that the staffers who worked with him on the 2004 show were taken aback by his place in the presidential race, reported Variety. "It's all very, very peculiar. The guy is walking around getting a load of votes."
Telegdy continued, "What's going on demonstrates, if nothing else, the enormous amount of responsibility that goes with the job of putting out the version of someone that we do in a TV show." He referred to The Apprentice, which he believed turned Trump into a "phenomenon television personality."
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