Saturday, April 30, 2011

Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice Loosing Viewers and Advertising Dollars

Donald Trump may have had a good reason to go after Obama about his birth certificate – public relations.

While Trump seems to spew on about how his show “Celebrity Apprentice” is the most popular show on NBC, the truth seems quite different.

Trumps recent display of hatred toward Jerry Seinfeld and Robert De Niro, along with his bizarre conspiracy about Obama’s birth certificate, may be destroying his reality show.

In fact, the numbers look really bad, with viewers 18-49 down over 40% this year, and advertising revenue far behind last year. And with all the Meat Loaf and Gary Busey shenanigans this year one would think the show would be a runaway success.

Advertising Age says “Apprentice” ad revenue is down for a couple of reasons.

First, Trumps uncertain Presidential run and poor handling of the birth certificate issue has driven advertisers away. The latest? - Groupon, who has pulled their ads from the Trump website.

Another reason traditional advertisers are passing on Trump is the increase in product placement during the show. Arby’s, for example, pays a hefty fee when Trump issues a challenge relating to a new menu item or ad campaign.

One ad exec says,

“The product placement has become so ‘in your face’ that the entire show is starting to look like Trump is a sellout. The show looks more like a 60 minute infomercial than a prime time realty show. The constant product placement distracts from the usual commercials.”

Sweeps are coming up next month so it benefits Trump to drive as much attention to himself and the show as he can – how convenient there is a political race with his name in it to stir up a little face time.

Lastly, the contracts for both Trump and executive producer Mark Burnett expire after this season so there are questions whether NBC will be interested in another season or not.

An NBC exec says there are no problems at all,

'The Apprentice' is in a very challenging time slot on Monday nights and it's responded with consistently good results, including the most upscale audience for any unscripted show in prime time. ... It remains a key series for our future."

But when advertising execs are asked you get a different story,

"The Apprentice is generally on the decline. The move to Monday from Thursday nights had a negative effect. But that's not the big issue. It's the content of the show. It's matured. People are looking for other ways to be entertained. They don’t want to watch D-list celebrities sell hamburgers, pizza or wedding dresses."

Trumps last tirade came yesterday at his hotel in Las Vegas where he gave a speech riddled with the F-word and other obscenities to a crowd of over 1000.

Unless there is a spectacular race to the finale during sweeps next month, and if Donald can’t keep his mouth shut about Barack Obama and others, then look for this to be the beginning of the end for “The Apprentice”.

At least we can still laugh at his bad hair.

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