Two weeks after making clear to a gathering of TV critics his network is not responsible for the stunning political rise of The Apprentice star Donald Trump, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt took to Facebook to call the presidential hopeful “toxic,” “pompous,” and “demented.”
On his personal Facebook account, Greenblatt decried the country’s “sad state of affairs,” which he says is “thanks to a pompous businessman turned reality TV star (whose show consistently ran LAST in its time period, by the way) who thinks speaking his mind is refreshing.”
“It’s actually corrosive and toxic because his ‘mind’ is so demented; and his effect will unfortunately linger long after he’s been told to get off the stage,” Greenblatt posted. Sadly, Greenblatt did not explain why NBC kept on the air a show that “consistently ran LAST in its time period.”
His Facebook comments became big news for media struggling to keep pace with the head-snapping turns in NBC’s position on Trump. In fairness, Greenblatt posted his thoughts after reading a Sunday New York Times Op-ed piece suggesting
Donald Trump is the reason America has become “meaner,” and post was expunged when Greenblatt became aware his remark had become public and the subject of news reports. Called for comment, NBC said it did not have one.
Two weeks before his Facebook post, Greenblatt insisted NBC is not responsible for Donald Trump’s political rise off his reality-TV stardom, when asked pointedly about that by a reporter clearly looking for someone to blame. During that TCA Q&A, Greenblatt had said he did not “think there’s that much correlation between one and the other,” and noted “Gary Trudeau predicted Donald Trump would run for President 15 years ago, before he was on The Apprentice.”
But, then, he noted “Bedtime For Bonzo helped [Ronald] Reagan become a nationally prominent figure,” but that seemed to make the reporter’s point.
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 until announcing his candidacy last summer.
“We are happy to have a show that was doing really well, with a guy who was a big TV star,” Greenblatt said of the show he later noted on Facebook was “consistently running last” in the ratings. “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.
A PBS Frontline filmmaker who had appeared days earlier at TCA, had entirely disagreed with Greenblatt, insisting NBC having cast Trump on The Apprentice is entirely to blame. NBC launched Donald Trump’s presidential campaign years ago when it debuted The Apprentice, Michael Kirk maintained.
Reporters Who Cover Television are in a lather trying to keep up with NBC’s whiplash inducing positions on the GOP nominee. In June, NBC said it was cutting business ties with Trump shortly after he announced his candidacy in his now infamous Mexican Rapists speech, because, “at NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.” Not long thereafter, NBC invited Trump to become the first ever presidential candidate to host NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
Greenblatt, at TCA in January explained “If we were in the business of never having anyone guest on the network that had views that were different than our views, we would be out of business.”
Six months later, at summer TCA, Greenblatt assured reporters Trump “would never be back on Celebrity Apprentice” as long as he’s in charge.