Trump vs. Stewart: This Time, It’s Personalby David Bloomberg -- 02/22/2006
Let’s get ready to rummmmmble! A war of words is breaking out among reality TV stars, but it’s not in one of the normal venues. This is the sort of thing we’d expect on a Real World/Road Rules Challenge or a particularly nasty episode of Survivor. But the war this time is actually between two host/judge/stars, and they’re from the same basic show, The Apprentice. No, it’s not Carolyn vs. George, it’s Donald Trump vs. Martha Stewart.
Trump and Stewart have been trading barbs for the past couple days, ever since Stewart did an interview with Newsweek in which she reiterated her previous claim that she believed she would be “firing” Trump in the first episode of her series, and that hers would be the only one on the air during the season.
“Having two Apprentices was as unfair to him as it was unfair to me. But Donald really wanted to stay on,” she told the magazine. Upon hearing about what Stewart said, Trump disputed her recollection of events, noting that he co-owns the show.
He also fired back in his usual understated manner, saying, “I wish she would be able to take responsibility for her failure,” and adding that her version didn’t have the correct tone or demeanor.
The Donald wasn’t done, though. He wrote a letter to Stewart (rather ironic, since she wrote letters to fired contestants at the end of each episode), saying her version of the show was “a mistake for everybody – especially NBC.” He continued down the same path as his earlier statements by adding, "Your performance was terrible in that the show lacked mood, temperament and just about everything a show needs for success. I knew it would fail as soon as I first saw it – and your low ratings bore me out.” Ouch.
But wait, there’s more. Not content with merely slamming Stewart’s show, he got even more personal: "Between your daughter, with her one-word statements, your letter writing and, most importantly, your totally unconvincing demeanor, it never had a chance – much as your daytime show is not exactly setting records.”
Then, finally, the parting shot, in response to Stewart’s claim that she was supposed to “fire” Trump: "Essentially, you made this firing up just as you made up your sell order of ImClone."
Martha was far less belligerent in her reply to Trump’s letter, noting that she was bewildered by it and that it was “so mean-spirited and reckless that I almost can't believe my longtime friend Donald Trump wrote it."
Is Trump trying to go back to being the man we love to hate? Or is he just backed against a wall and on the defensive as his show’s ratings decreased and NBC moved him from the prime Thursday spot to Monday?
Either way, both Trump and Stewart are partially right in their exchange. Trump is obviously correct that he is the co-owner, but I also recall that he said early on that he would not always be the boss, and would eventually hand it over to somebody else. Perhaps Stewart heard the same things and thought she would be that person.
I also have to agree with Stewart that having the two series on at the same time hurt both of them. We here at RealityNewsOnline foresaw that as a problem before the shows even hit the air, as did many others – apparently, NBC was not among them.
However, Trump is right on some accounts too. Stewart’s show did not have the proper demeanor, something that is unusual for a Mark Burnett production, but also something for which it seems the co-owner of the show should take some blame. After all, if an Apprentice candidate came to him with something as bad as he’s described Stewart’s show, wouldn’t that person be fired?
I do find it amusing that for the newest season of The Apprentice, Trump took a page out of Stewart’s book and will have his own children substituting for George and Carolyn when they aren’t available. Hopefully, they will give more than “one-word statements.”
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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