Trump’s presidential nonsense could end Apprentice, which is already being damaged

Donald Trump’s decision to transition from reality star to nonsense-spewing potential presidential candidate has already threatened Celebrity Apprentice, leading people to tune out when they should be tuned in to one of the better reality shows on TV, from its focus on raising money for charity to its focus on crazypants celebrities.

But now, Trump’s decision to use the show’s finale to announce a press conference to announce whether he is running for president or is just full of shit has the potential to further damage the series, because it brings his nutballs politics into a show that is otherwise pretty apolitical. I’ve argued that it’s possible to watch and enjoy the show even though Trump is an ass, but if he starts talking about Obama’s birth certificate on the finale, I hope someone pulls out his weave for being so stupid and hurting his greatest asset.

And if he does actually run, it will most likely mean the end of The Apprentice, because NBC would have to give equal time to other candidates.

Thankfully, NBC executives dismiss all of this as “Donald being Donald.” That’s what an anonymous senior executive told The New York Times, which reports that “This is Donald being Donald,” and added that “any decision is still weeks away.”

The paper reports that if Trump “decides to formally seek the nomination, NBC would be compelled to rethink any plans for a fall season of the program” even though it is “one of the network’s most-watched shows.” That’s because of “the equal-time rule, which obligates television and radio stations to offer equivalent time to competing candidates if one gets free airtime.”

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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.