Donald Trump Became a Television Celebrity Thanks to “The Apprentice”
Before “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump portrayed himself in cameo appearances in movies and on television, including “Zoolander,” “Sex and the City” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” He had always courted publicity and talked with the media despite constant denials that he was publicity-shy.
In January 2004, The Apprentice,” a reality show featuring aspiring entrepreneurs competing for Trump’s approval, premiered on NBC. The Apprentice is not even Donald Trump’s creation but that of a British entrepreneur, Mark Burnett who had first produced a similar show in England, got Donald Trump to star on it. Although Trump was skeptical, stating that reality television “was for the bottom-feeders of society”, he accepted when Burnett proposed that Trump appear as himself, a successful businessman with a luxurious lifestyle. In case, you have not watched it, it is an American reality television program that judges the business skills of a group of contestants.
The show has run in various formats across fifteen seasons since January 2004 on NBC. Trump starred in for the first twelve seasons. It was a match made in heaven. Trump who loved publicity used it to promote his various enterprises and to become a celebrity. He was paid $375,000 per show. In 2007, Trump received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Trump enjoyed humiliating and firing people. He tried to trademark the phrase, “You’re fired,” but had no such luck. He had achieved his dream of becoming a well-known television personality but that was no longer enough to satisfy his ambition.