Back in June, I spoke to several alumni of The Apprentice production crew about their memories of Donald Trump. They recalled Trump talking about female contestants’ bodies and describing women by their breast size, even though he knew he was mic’d and could be heard by dozens of people. When I asked if there was any jaw-dropping, behind-the-scenes footage floating around, everyone told me that whatever exists would reside in the archives of Mark Burnett’s production house.
“Historically, the Mark Burnett crew is very loyal,” one Apprentice production assistant told me, “and the same people probably would have been used for all those seasons. If you try to talk to them, you will run into people concerned about violating that trust.” Indeed, I wasn’t able to get anyone who worked under Burnett to talk to me.
Burnett, who produced Survivor before he launched The Apprentice, and went on to create Shark Tank and The Voice, denied a report over the summer that he was helping to produce the Republican National Convention. When Jimmy Kimmel made a joke about Burnett’s being responsible for Trump during September’s Emmy Awards show, Burnett laughed it off to reporters afterward but did not explicitly support or condemn Trump. Here’s how Deadline Hollywood reported the moment:
“How do you feel about Donald Trump?” leaned one reporter backstage, refusing to accept Burnett’s polite response.
The reality TV guru dodged, “How much free media can any one person get?” indicating how Trump is the last person to be upset about his name being dropped on the show, whether it’s good or bad.
Said Burnett, “I think it’s an example really about how everything is changing whether it’s big business or politics.”
Burnett then ended his answer with an acronym that threw the whole press room off: “It’s all MFMO. It’s mobile first or media over.”
I have zero doubt that Burnett is sitting on hours and hours of damning Trump footage. Why he hasn’t released any—and whether he plans to—is a question only he can answer.
If you know of anything, or if you yourself have footage that you can’t wait to share with the world, please move on email@example.com very heavily.