Author: Donald Trump wanted daughter Ivanka named 'Apprentice' successor

 April 4, 2024

A new book is shedding light on the behind-the-scenes history of one of the most successful reality shows in television history and the vision its original star had for the program's future.

As Variety reports, author Ramin Setoodeh has revealed that prior to departing his NBC smash hit The Apprentice to pursue the presidency, Donald Trump tapped his daughter, Ivanka Trump, as his preferred choice to take the helm, a suggestion with which network executives disagreed.

Trump's succession plan

In his book Apprentice in Wonderland: How Donald Trump and Mark Burnett Took America Through the Looking Glass, Setoodeh details the then-reality TV phenom's thought process as he prepared to depart his blockbuster hit in favor of the presidential campaign trail.

Trump explained what his thought process had been as to who would be the right person to take his place on the popular series, noting, “I said, 'The best person to hire would be Ivanka Trump.'”

“I didn't press it. But I felt Ivanka would have been by far the best person you could hire,” he added.

Having starred in 14 seasons of the show and its related spinoffs before leaving the medium altogether, Trump understandably felt compelled to offer his two cents about who might be chosen to propel the franchise forward.

Network brass, however, did not share his take on the situation, and Trump recalled, “NBC didn't like it, because it became a family thing. But I said, 'There's nobody you're going to hire that will come even close to Ivanka.'”

Arnold takes over

Despite Donald Trump's stated preference that Ivanka take the reins of the show, supported by her brothers, Don Jr. and Eric, who would also make regular appearances, NBC executives opted to engage the services of Hollywood legend and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as People noted.

Recalling the network's reaction to the proposal involving his children, Trump mused, “They said, 'Huh...' And then they came back with Arnold Schwarzenegger.”

That decision, as People explains, did not prove terribly fruitful, as the New Celebrity Apprentice, helmed by the Terminator star, was ultimately canceled after just one season on the air.

Schwarzenegger attributed the failure to the controversy engendered by the concept's former host, stating at the time, “With Trump being involved in the show people have a bad taste and don't want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show. It's a very divisive period now and I think this show got caught up in all that division.”

Don't mess with success

Though by the time Donald Trump departed the series, the Apprentice had lost some of its ratings luster, there is no denying that during its early seasons, the show was an unstoppable programming juggernaut for NBC, with its 2004 finale viewed in whole or in part by over 40 million viewers, as the New York Times noted.

Then- NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker went so far as to declare the show a “cultural phenomenon,” and in hindsight, perhaps the network should have heeded Trump's advice on how to recapture that original magic after his planned exit.

Whether the Apprentice would have returned to its ratings glory days under the leadership of Trump's children is open for debate, but it seems certain that its former star is hoping to reprise at least one key element of the show this November by telling Joe Biden -- with full dramatic effect -- “You're fired!”

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.