President Donald Trump may be plotting a return to reality television after he’s done in the White House.
According to the Daily Beast, Trump has been trading ideas about a potential new reality TV competition program with Mark Burnett, the producer of “The Apprentice,” the business-based show that rocketed Trump to his current status as a cultural icon.
“Since taking office in early 2017, the president has confided to close associates that he misses hosting ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ on NBC, the reality-TV staples he left behind to become the Republican Party standard-bearer and then the leader of the free world,” The Daily Beast reports.
Sources tell The Daily Beast that Trump has been trading emails with Burnett, pitching ideas about a politics-themed successor to “The Apprentice,” where players competed in Trump-designed challenges to win an internship or job with the Trump Corporation, usually assisting on a new project, like the Trump Tower in Chicago.
“The Apprentice” was a phenomenon, as was Trump’s catchphrase from the show, “you’re fired!” It also served as a launching pad for a number of Trump initiatives, including a clothing line. It may have also been a boon to Trump’s political career. Americans got used to Trump’s gruff boardroom behavior over the course of the show and came to see Trump as a larger-than-life character.
When Trump hit the campaign trail in 2015 (and even before), most of his “negative characteristics” (or what might be considered negative traits in other politicians) were baked into his image, leaving it hard to level a real, personal, scorched-earth style attack at Trump.
The new show could be called “The Apprentice: White House,” and would likely be designed to capitalize off Trump’s time as president.
“One of the ideas kicked around by Burnett and the president was shooting a new version of the Trump-branded Apprentice, tentatively titled The Apprentice: White House, and to produce it shortly after the president leaves office,” according to The Daily Beast’s insider knowledge. “This time, however, the TV program would be explicitly politics-themed and take full advantage of Trump’s status as a former president of the United States and a newfound Republican kingmaker.”
“There have been several discussions between Burnett and Trump about The Apprentice: White House,” one source told The Daily Beast. “It is something Burnett thinks could be a money-spinner and Trump is very keen on doing.”
But before anyone starts crafting their resumes and shooting their audition videos, another source cautioned The Daily Beast that whatever plans might be forming are still in their infancy: “They actually talked about an Apprentice: White House,” but “as far as I know, the discussion did not go far.”
Trump probably shouldn’t be making contingency plans anyway. According to the latest polls, particularly a recent offering from The New York Times, the president is doing well against his potential Democrat challengers, tying with former vice president Joe Biden in most “battleground states” and handily beating Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). He’s also far out-raising his Democrat counterparts; at last count, Trump had a bigger war chest than much of the 2020 Democratic field combined.