Way back before Donald Trump was elected our dystopian nightmare overlord, he was the charming yet uncomfortably slimy figurehead of a reality franchise known as The Apprentice. Now, despite his upcoming gig as President of the United States, he'll be remaining as an exectuive producer on the program, which is returning after a two year hiatus. How this isn't a conflict of interest, no one knows.
"The larger issue for MGM, NBC, and the White House is the payment that Trump will receive for the series. It’s unclear what his per-episode fee is, but it is likely to be in the low five-figures, at minimum. NBC has ordered eight episodes of The New Celebrity Apprentice. Trump’s fees will be paid through MGM, the production entity on the show, not NBC. MGM declined to comment on the financial terms of Trump’s deal," says Variety on the subject. “The fact that a sitting president will be on the payroll of a current TV show is another example of the thicket of potential conflicts of interest raised by Trump’s segue from private businessman and TV star to commander-in-chief.”
One of the interesting complexities of this is that NBC (mostly) severed it's relationship with DT back in 2015 over hateful statements he made about immigrants. “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump. To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC. In addition, as Mr. Trump has already indicated, he will not be participating in The Celebrity Apprentice on NBC," they said at the time.
Jezebel notes, however, that "Celebrity Apprentice is licensed from Mark Burnett’s United Artists Media Group and that relationship will continue.” Ironically, Burnett himself has denounced Trump, saying that "the hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign."
Fortunately or unfortunately, Trump will not be returning as a host of the series. That honor will go to Arnold Schwarzenegger. No, really.
[Photo: Getty Images]