Real estate mogul, television star, and 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump takes issue with people who suggest his reality show, “Celebrity Apprentice,” doesn’t have strong ratings.
After MSNBC host Lawrenece O’Donnell referred to the show’s audience as “tiny,” Trump’s office sent Business Insider an email. It included a note from his executive assistant, Jessica Macchia.
“Mr. Trump would like you to see the attached ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ ratings, in actuality it is a very big show,” Macchia wrote.
“Celebrity Apprentice” airs on NBC. It is the latest iteration of Trump’s “Apprentice” franchise, which premiered in 2004.
The message included two attached PDF’s. The first was a Variety article from 2004 that noted “The Apprentice” was the number one show among adults aged 18-49 at the time. The second attachment was an email Trump requested from NBC ratings guru Tom Bierbaum earlier this month. Trump asked Bierbaum how his show was performing relative to ABC’s”Shark Tank.”
Bierbaum noted “Celebrity Apprentice” was behind “Shark Tank” last season. However, Bierbaum also identified “one positive,” which is that “Celebrity Apprentice” is very close to “Shark Tank” in the key 18-49 demographic. Bierbaum also said Trump’s show has grown its audience while “Shark Tank” remained “flat.”
The PDF sent to Business Insider included handwritten annotations from Trump, who argued “Celebrity Apprentice” earned these numbers in spite of being hurt by re-runs.
“Despite adding two re-runs at season’s end — hurt ratings,” Trump wrote.
“Celebrity Apprentice” averaged 7.6 million viewers, its best numbers since 2012, last season. NBC renewed it for another season in February.
O’Donnell disparaged Trump’s ratings on Tuesday evening in a segment that included Business Insider. He made the comments after Republican strategist Steve Schmidt argued Trump’s celebrity will ensure he makes an impact on the GOP’s 2016 primary.
“On any given night, you know, the greatest reality show on television are going to be these debates. And, in part, it will be the greatest reality show on television because Donald Trump is there,” Schmidt said. “This is someone who’s run a successful television show for many, many years now.”
“Successful? It has a tiny, tiny audience,” O’Donnell said.
You can watch the MSNBC segment here and check out Trump’s PDF responses below.
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