|I think Trump should carry on hosting Miss Universe as well. He could marry the winner, as one of the prizes! Ivan the Terrible choosing a bride, by Konstantin Makovsky, 1886.|
OK, that Variety article may have sounded to an outsider as if it meant more than it actually did. In particular, it's likely that the "work" as executive producer on the eighth season of Celebrity Apprentice for which Donald J. Trump is being paid however much it is will not be exactly work by the standard applied to you and me, and he may well have finished doing it more than a year ago, for all we can know. It's certainly not as if he will be ducking out of national security briefings to be in Silicon Beach for any filming, though I don't want to suggest that's impossible either.
There's no doubt, for one thing, that he must have played some significant role in the conceptual development for the original Apprentice beginning 2004, where Trump was credited as a "co-producer" in addition to being "host" (Mark Burnett is the "creator"). What exactly that means—whether he micromanaged the project from start to finish or merely sent the production team an annoyed note on a Post-It from time to time—we can't say. But really, that's just Hollywood. Like Hillary's $225,000 speeches or the ones for which Donald J. Trump charged a cool million or million and a half, which somehow didn't get discussed so much during the campaign.
And it's just Hollywood that he should keep getting paid for whatever he did in 2004-07 as it gets recycled into a "new" Celebrity Apprentice next month. He's not some miserable little creative person like a performer or writer, for heaven's sake, he's in the rent collection business!
Still, it's odd in some respects, since it's well known that NBC fired him in June 2015 after his announcement of the presidential run, riding that escalator and warning us about all those Mexican rapists. That's why they fired him, severing not just his connection to their Apprentice franchise but also theirs to his Miss Universe (which he then sold to Ari Emmanuel's WME/IMG agency). Trump has claimed leaving was his idea, but if that were the case he would have announced it before they did (in fact he believes he could host the show himself as US president, as he told NBC CEO Steve Burke four years ago—it was Burke who said no then).
And when the network decided to revive the show after all, with Schwarzenegger playing the Job Terminator, the January announcement made no mention of Trump participating in any capacity. Bob Greenblatt certainly wasn't expecting Trump to be involved as recently as August, judging from what he told his Facebook followers:
Earlier this month, NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt took to his personal Facebook page to slam the GOP nominee.
“Sad state of affairs thanks to a pompous businessman turned reality TV star (whose show consistently ran LAST in its time period, by the way) who thinks speaking his mind is refreshing,” Greenblatt wrote. “It’s actually corrosive and toxic because his ‘mind’ is so demented; and his effect will unfortunately linger long after he’s been told to get off the stage,” he added.Also, his official spokesperson seems convinced Trump is going to be doing some "work" for the program,
Kellyanne Conway on Friday defended President-elect Donald Trump's decision to remain an executive producer on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" even as he takes office, arguing that "presidents have a right to do things in their spare time."
Kellyanne Conway on Trump remaining Celebrity Apprentice EP: Were we so concerned about hours Obama spent golfing? https://t.co/FIjN72qptX— New Day (@NewDay) December 9, 2016
I'm pretty much thinking he's extorted this deal from NBC, perhaps as payback for the insults he feels he's suffered from Saturday Night Live and The View, and definitely with the threat of a lawsuit issued since the election, as part of the general policy of picking up whatever crumb of corruption he can, wherever. That's why it's just now being reported, because they've just now made the contract.Did Obama get paid 5-figure fees and residual rights for a golf game? Did advertisers get to vet everything he said on the course? https://t.co/sUSZA9PnhA— (((Yastreblyansky))) (@Yastreblyansky) December 9, 2016
To those who would like to complain that this is petty stuff in face of the zombie reactionary cabinet he's now putting together, maybe worse than anything Ted Cruz could have come up with and that's really saying something, and the increasingly evident fact that he "won" this election (Clinton won, by an enormous margin, but Trump gets the first prize on an absurd 18th-century technicality) with and possibly because of the assistance of a somewhat hostile foreign power, hey, you're right.
Then again, this pettiness is a central part of how he approaches everything, including the office of the presidency, as Newt Gingrich (probably not aware of the enormity of what he was saying) explained on Fox to Neil Cavuto:
"Donald J. Trump is going to be the executive producer of a thing called the American government and he is going have this a huge TV show called leading the world."