Trump admits boardroom voiceovers, is “surprised” by candidates’ stupidity, says the show may go to other cities

The Apprentice teleconference with Donald and Ivanka Trump was held this morning. As usual, there were some insanely stupid questions asked by reporters, such as one from a dumbass xenophobe who asked “what somebody from Russia could bring to the Apprentice that the other American-born contestants don’t have.” He was talking about Lenny, who’s lived in the US for the past 13 years, and who Trump said was “very interesting” and “smart.” Another asked Ivanka about her appearance, and her shift from “a Paris Hilton look” to “a businesswoman look.” Christ.

But these dummies were the minority, thankfully. One reporter asked Trump about his war with Martha Stewart last week, and Trump said hyping the new season “has nothing to do with it” and such rumors are “not true.” Another asked about the lack of exemptions this season, and Trump confirmed they were eliminated because “it made the show complicated.”

As to ratings, Trump said he “was disappointed” by the ratings for Monday’s debut, and blamed the move to Monday. “I think the change to Monday had a big impact. … A lot of people are still confused about the fact that the show is on Monday now instead of Thursday.” He also said that, when he refers to ratings, he’s always referring to viewers 18 to 49. That’s a demographic in which the show does perform well, but is still not number one.

During one answer, Trump said, “there’s absolutely no scripting” and what we see is “all just as it happens.” Derek Santos of Reality TV World asked the obvious follow-up question before I could (reporters queue up to ask questions): What about those obnoxious voiceovers? Trump admitted that they do, in fact, rerecord some dialogue, but he says it isn’t written later.

Trump said, “Everyone once in a while we’ll have to redo something, but it’s always in the exact same words.” Sometimes audio “gets muffled” because of “technical equipment” or other noise, he said. His answer confirms that Mark Burnett is a big fat liar, as he previously denied there was any dubbing, calling it viewers’ “imagination.”

Most readers who suggested questions wanted to know about two things: the Martha feud and his lying about the ratings. With those topics out of the way, I asked Trump three questions, and started by addressing him by his first name and thus fearing he’d yell at me. I said, “I’m wondering, Donald, if it surprises you that the contestants keep making the same mistakes every season, time after time … they have great qualifications, yet they keep kind of screwing up in the same way.”

Trump said was “a good question” (my spine tingled), and said, “I’m always surprised at how smart they are, I’m also surprised on the downside about how stupid some of the decisions are from such smart people, because they really are smart people.” Then I asked a question suggested by more than one reader: “Do you think the tasks are really indicative of what it takes to be an executive?” Trump said, “I think it’s a very accurate reflection of business life, and life even, but of business life. I think the boardroom is very accurate.”

Finally, I noted that the show has “lost ratings and buzz” even though it “is as strong creatively” as it always was its first season, and asked, “Do you think it needs some kind of shakeup, like a big change like we’ve seen in Survivor and other shows?” Trump said, “That’s what we’re doing next season, going to Los Angeles … Mark told me, if they did Survivor in the same jungle ever season, it would be not the same that it is. The big thing that we’re doing is we’re going to Los Angeles, and after that we may go Miami, or we may go Las Vegas, or someplace else, Chicago maybe. We are changing it from that standpoint.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.