I watched every season of the original (non-celebrity) version of The Apprentice.
Did he come off as a good businessman? No.
An effective boss? No.
Good at motivating people and getting stuff done? No.
Highly entertaining? Yes.
An expert at hosting a reality T.V. show? Yes.
Occasionally insightful about an individual’s behavior or motivation? Yes.
He did a good job with the show – I would not have had a problem voting for him to host a different reality show. But he didn’t demonstrate either business ability or political ability. He did demonstrate a willingness to do whatever he pleased, without regard for rules or consequences. It made for fun T.V.
I watched part of the first season with Omarosa. I mostly thought that it was contrived to put people in dramatic situations. I assumed that the people who got to stay on the show were the people who were the best for ratings and likely the most dramatic. I got no particular impression, good or bad, of Trump’s business acumen.
I do remember thinking that if he were a real billionaire, spending a little time eking out better performance from his portfolio would have to be worth more than the perhaps $20 million per year (just guessing) he got for doing the show.
I watched 2 or 3 seasons of Celebrity Apprentice. It was an entertaining trainwreck but I found Trump’s decisions at the end of each show to be annoying to infuriating. He was clearly choosing the biggest idiot to stay, for ratings, and in no way based on actual talent or business acumen. There’s no way I came away from the show thinking Donald Trump was a good businessman. He was a creepy showman.
I actually liked Don Jr and Ivanka on the show. They seemed level-headed (at the time!)
Honest truth here, had no idea he would ever run for President.
We laughed at him. They played trumpets when he came down the escalator like he was royalty. It was hilarious. I remember telling my wife to remember that he is a failed businessman and he would actually do *worse *than most of the people on this show.
He came off as a buffoon. My wife and I ended up skipping almost everything with him because we just enjoyed watching the people do the tasks.
He made ridiculous decisions in the board room. No excuses, even if they were legit.
He literally held the contestants to higher standards than he does himself as President. Absolute perfection from them.
The show pushed those “celebrities” with rich and/or influential friends to buy their way to the top. Working your ass off, no matter how effectively, didn’t count worth shit if someone else on the show had friends with deep pockets to contribute big bucks to the show(while taking the tax breaks for charitable contributions, of course). Of course in real life it just doesn’t happen like that(legally, that is).
I kind of enjoyed the regular Apprentice. But one thing that always irritated me is that he would punish risk-taking. It was so long ago that I can’t think of any specific examples. But he would try to find somebody on the losing team who had some novel or creative idea and berate them and probably fire them. I am not talking about doing something stupid, just something different but reasonable. If your team lost, even by $1, you better not have been the one who suggested doing anything remarkable. But Omarosa was always portrayed as being uncooperative and incompetent and she would be kept until near the end.
The Celebrity Apprentice was just dumb. They would have the celebrities do a task, the celebrities would get into fights with their teammates about doing the task. But the actual task did not count. All that counted was getting their rich friends to allegedly buy stuff that they did not need and would never use for absurd amounts of money, like thousand dollar hamburgers. The rich friends did not even show up, they sent messengers with a check to pick up the hamburger (and probably throw it away).
I watched Celebrity Apprentice for a few rounds hoping that eventually someone would say “Run a pizza parlor? Let’s not waste our time. I’ll run down to the Piggly Wiggly and get a few frozen pizzas. You all just get on the phones and call your friends.” It never happened.
I remember when Lyle Lovett, who at the time was married to Julia Roberts, was a contestant. His team lost and Trump berated him for not calling his wife’s rich Hollywood friends. Lyle tried to explain that he had an agreement with his wife that they wouldn’t abuse each other’s fame and that he wasn’t going to risk his marriage. Trump was having none of that.
I also remember one of the final rounds where the two finalists were planning some kind of show business event. Trump arrived in his limo to check on the progress of one of the contestants. But there was some kind of manufactured crisis in progress so the contestant sent an assistant to meet Trump’s limo. In the boardroom, Trump really tore into him about that. How dare he not be there to meet Trump personally!
He was entertaining because he created drama. I didn’t have enough information to judge him as a businessman. As someone else said, it was clear that he found contrived reasons to keep certain people who deserved to be fired. Which is a good reality show practice and bad for running a real company. His boardroom scenes were train wrecks, and that’s what I tuned in for. The only moments that stand out for me are when he made Rudy, from the Cosby Show, cry because she didn’t call Billy Cosby in a fundraising task, and the time a team was docked for an ad that described a hotel as discreet. Trump and team thought it should’ve been spelled discrete.
It was entertaining for a few seasons. I agree with those who’ve said he dowsn’t necessarily come off as a great businessman, but he was good at playing up the drama in any given situation.
I didn’t begin having a negative opinion of him until the first (I think) season of the celebrity version. The teams were tasked with selling lemonade. One team busted their asses to actually sell lemonade at a fair price to ordinary passers-by, and did a pretty decent job of it. The other team came up with the idea of calling all their rich celebrity friends to come and buy lemonade for $1000 a glass or somthing, and they won the challenge. Trump asked the captain of the losing team (don’t recall who it was) if they’d though of doing that, and he or she said something like, “We figured that would be cheating. We just wanted to make an honest buck.” Trump replied, “That’s why you lost. You’re fired.” And I thought, what an entitled asshole.
I’m suspecting that, if it’s Lovett you’re remembering, he wasn’t married to Julia Roberts when he was on the show. He and Roberts were married from 1993 to 1995; he’s been in a relationship with April Kimble (who works in Hollywood as a producer and music supervisor) since 1997. Wikipedia says that they married last year, but were engaged for a very long time before that.