NBC is not responsible for Donald Trump’s GOP nomination, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt made very clear this monrning when asked pointedly about that, by a reporter clearly looking for someone to blame, at TCA.
“Bedtime For Bonzo helped [Ronald] Reagan become a nationally prominent figure,” Greenblatt responded, in the nicest possible way.
In that ’50s film, the future POTUS played a psychology professor teaching human morals to a chimp, whereas Trump played the executioner in chief on NBC’s reality competition series The Apprentice, then Celebrity Apprentice, until announcing his candidacy last summer.
“Gary Trudeau predicted Donald Trump would run for President 15 years ago, before he was on The Apprentice,” Greenblatt continued, having done his homework.
“We are happy to have a show that was doing really well, with a guy who was a big TV star. It’s impossible to predict where it goes from there. I think it surprised all of us that he would want to do this but that’s what is great about this country,” Greenblatt insisted stoutly. “But I don’t think there’s that much correlation between one and the other.”
Greenblatt came this close to skating through his entire traditional TCA Q&A without taking a single Trump question, which speaks volumes to the body of press at the clambake. It was the penultimate question, and Greenblatt had to ask the reporter to take another stab at the question, owing to its circuitousness.
“I guess what I’m asking you is…” the reporter began, promising she was “genuinely interested in” the “interesting consequences” of a television show “normally for purposes of entertainment.”
“It certainly is interesting, and we talk about it a lot,” Greenblatt smiled. (After his Q&A during a scrum, Greenblatt once again said, as he has several times previously, Trump “would never be back on Celebrity Apprentice” as long as he’s in charge.)