… and the network apparently wants the show so badly, they’d take it with or without Donald Trump.
NBC released its Fall lineup Sunday night, and included:
Returning shows include “Parenthood,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Harry’s Law,” “Chuck” (for its fifth and final season of 13 episodes), “Community,” “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office,” “30 Rock” and “Dateline NBC.” Among next season’s returning alternative series are “The Voice,” “The Sing-Off,” “The Celebrity Apprentice” and “The Biggest Loser,” each in two-hour formats.
Critics of Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail, which included race baiting comments about President Obama, his birth certificate and his attendance of Harvard University, had been calling on NBC not to continue to do business with Trump, but it seems that NBC Entertainment is less worried about potential boycotts against the network or its advertisers, based on Trump’s racist ravings, than about filling that two hour hole in their Sunday night lineup. NBC has faced down boycott calls before, including when Conan O’Brien left the network after NBC Entertainment brass gave Jay Leno back “The Tonight Show.” Talk of Team Conan boycotts eventually fizzled, and Leno now enjoys respectable ratings – if not the love and respect of his late night comedy peers.
Whether or not people would seriously commit to an anti-Apprentice boycott, or whether it would lose its high ratings in Black households, for example, remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen whether Black celebrities would feel pressure to stay away from the show because of Trump.
Interestingly enough, NBC Entertainment seems clearly committed to continuing “Celebrity Apprentice” with or without Trump attached.
“Celebrity Apprentice” will stay on the NBC prime-time schedule even if Donald Trump hits the presidential campaign trail, the network’s entertainment chairman said Sunday.
The show’s “big success” is “due in part” to Trump, Bob Greenblatt said, but he predicts it can go on without him.
“If he decides to run for president and is unavailable to do the show, we will bring the show back and there will be somebody else sitting at the head of the boardroom table,” NBC’s Bob Greenblatt said. “Who that is, we’re not even going to really entertain because I’m still hoping we will have Donald in the seat.”
Controversies aside, Greenblatt appears to be a big Trump fan:
NBC has enjoyed a ratings bump from the Trump presidential buzz, Greenblatt said.
“We couldn’t be happier,” he said. “There may be headaches down the road but at the moment we’re feeling really good about it.”
While he wants Trump to be available to host “Celebrity Apprentice,” Greenblatt said, “It is the right and privilege for every American-born citizen in this country to run for the highest office in the land.
“Nothing would make me happier to see somebody reach that dream,” he said.