The show's ratings dip, but The Donald says no. "There are a lot of people out there who agree with me!"
Donald Trump’s “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice,” the spring reality show uniting past contestants like Dennis Rodman, Gary Busey and La Toya Jackson, won its second hour last night among adults aged 18-49. But overall the news was mixed: Viewership was down from previous “Celebrity Apprentice” debuts, to 5.1 million people over the two-hour season premiere. (Last year’s premiere got 7.4 million viewers; in 2011, that number was 7.93 million.)
“We’re very happy with the 10 o’clock hour,” Trump told Salon in an interview on Monday. “And after four episodes, it goes to 10 o’clock. So it’s really the 10 o’clock hour.”
“We beat everybody. We beat every other network,” Trump said. “That’s our hour. We serve as our own lead-in.” (Last night on NBC, the first hour of “Apprentice” followed the newsmagazine “Dateline.”)
Trump refused to brook questioning as to whether NBC — which has collapsed in the ratings so far in 2013, slipping to fifth place after Univision in the February sweeps — might not be the ideal home for a TV show.
“I’m very happy with NBC; they’ve been terrific. We’ve had a great success with ‘The Apprentice.’ We have a great success with our hour. They’ve made me the lead-in for the 10 o’clock hour.”
Another topic raised by last night’s broadcast: Trump’s often-controversial political views, which President Barack Obama famously mocked from the stage of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011, and which Trump explored prior to the 2012 presidential election before endorsing Mitt Romney. (He announced he was not running at NBC’s 2011 “upfront” presentation to advertisers.) He thanked contestants for defending him against charges of “racism” — an allusion, possibly, to his search for Obama’s birth certificate. His time in the political sphere didn’t end after he walked away from the Presidential election; last October, he offered Obama a $5 million charity donation if the president provided his college transcripts. (Obama did not do so.)
Could his politics have turned viewers off?
“I do have strong political views, but that’s OK,” Trump said. “There are a lot of people out there, you know, who agree with me!
“I think people know me very well, with or without the show,” he said. “There are 16 copies of ‘The Apprentice.’ That number is as of two weeks ago — there was that one on CBS, ‘The Job’ [featuring, among others, Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles]. And that was just canceled.”
His political views, Trump said, hadn’t hurt his popularity; indeed, it may have helped. “I was leading in the polls even after I dropped out, which I had to do because of the ‘equal time’ rule.” Trump had led CNN’s 2012 polls in April 2011, as well as Gallup’s; his political popularity dropped later that year, though nominee Mitt Romney campaigned with Trump through 2012.
That rule governs the amount of broadcast airtime that may be devoted to a presidential candidate; had Trump, indeed, remained in the race, it would have been prohibitively difficult for “The Apprentice” to continue airing.
“And that’s an interesting rule. I don’t know why they have it.”
Daniel D'Addario is a staff reporter for Salon's entertainment section. Follow him on Twitter @DPD_ More Daniel D'Addario.
More Related Stories
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- 3 possible solutions to international tax avoidance
- David Vitter's hypocritical, punitive, horrible new amendment
- No women allowed: Summer music festivals are dudefests, again
- Democrats may be even worse than Republicans at regulating Wall Street
- There's no substitute for government disaster relief
- Billionaire hedge funder: Babies, breast-feeding "kill" focus, keep women from succeeding
- "Bookless library" set to open in Texas
- Greek yogurt, toxic waste hazard?
- Incoming BBC news director on journalism gender gap: "We can do better"
- Illegal construction, shoddy materials at fault in Bangladesh factory disaster
- Destroying the planet for record profits
- Lawsuit alleges anti-gay hiring practices at ExxonMobil
- The Maker kids are alright
- Portland's senseless war on fluoride
- Is Pittsburgh the next Portland?
- "Original Coca-Cola had a very small amount of cocaine"
- Justin Bieber will destroy you if you live-tweet his parties
- Corporations accused of wrongdoing win battle to keep identities secret
- Wall Street firm's "Golden Pitchbook" is totally sexist, full of lies
- Apple's biggest sin: Popularity
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11