While this story today about Clay Aiken, Donald Trump, and The Celebrity Apprentice may not be a huge Trump headline, it’s interesting. We’re not a political site, but we do know the NBC reality show thanks to watching it many years and even taking part in conference calls with Trump. He wasn’t nearly as adversarial with the press at that time, though he did often boast without regard for truth that his show was one of the highest rated out there; when someone would corrupt them, he would just chalk it up to faulty information and move on.
While speaking on The News & Observer’s podcast recently, Aiken (who is a former runner-up of the show, losing to Arsenio Hall in a season that he, quite frankly, deserved to win) made it clear that there was a secret to the way that Trump would get notes from producers:
“There used to be a little thing right on his desk that looked like a phone — he pretended it was a phone — but it was actually a teleprompter where the producers were sending him notes … He didn’t know that people were getting in fights during the week while we were doing these tasks. The producers did. And they’d send him notes and he’d say, ‘Oh you two didn’t get along.'”
Ultimately, it was “NBC” who made the decisions on who was fired, per Aiken, rather than the businessman himself. What’s interesting about this news is that, if consistent across the board, it makes some of the firings on the show even stranger. If you remember, Khloe Kardashian was fired for having a previous DUI arrest, while at one point Maria Kanellis was fired for making a joke about Curtis Stone in the bathroom. These firings were odd, and then you had people like Gary Busey and La Toya Jackson who would stick around for an inexplicably long time despite being not altogether effective in anything during their time on the show.
Basically, none of this is really a surprise given that Trump was never watching any of the tasks play out on the show, and he also was not the day-to-day showrunner. His job was to be compelling in the boardroom, and not to craft the story of the season. Maybe he offered up input here or there, but he had his part to play in the show and that was furthering along part of the story that was desired. For the record, we’re not saying that the show was rigged — we’re just saying that producers made decisions based on performances in the task and it was not all Trump all of the time.
Now, we of course wonder if the next Celebrity Apprentice host would choose to do anything different, if there ever is one. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the last person in that position, but he quit the show and NBC doesn’t seem to be all that interested in bringing it back. Gee, we wonder why. (Photo: NBC.)