Update: 7/25/19: The fact that Donald Trump is now the republican presidental candidate and that Mitt dissed him on TV makes this kind of surreal. The fact that Trump won’t release his taxes–claiming it’s because he’s under audit, which is laughable–proves he’s probably worried about the truth of his real worth coming out. We’ll see. Anyway, I figured I’d repost this article from 2012. I don’t think Trump will win, but who knows? Stranger things have happened. I think this election feels more like a reality show than a real election anyway.-TRL
Originally published 10/25/2012:
BURBANK– Who wants to be a Billionaire Survivor Factor Celebrity Apprentice? The secret is out in Burbank this morning after many attempts to cover it up. Donald Trump announced Monday that he had an October surprise that would have consequences on the presidential elections. Lawyers at NBC, ABC, Fox and CBS moved quickly to stop the eccentric Trump from violating the secret contract signed on Saturday by the networks and presidential candidate Mitt Romney. No publicity was to be released about the deal until after the election just in case some miracle should occur that allows Romney to win. Trump’s announcement turned out to be a sad publicity stunt for another project and not a reveal of the network deal as suspected, but the reaction of the networks to ensure secrecy, as often happens in Hollywood, caused the leak.
So what is the story?
Donald Trump is teaming up with Mitt Romney after the election to star in the “mother of all reality shows” to be carried jointly by CBS, ABC, Fox and NBC–one night on each network Monday-Thursday. The show is tentatively titled “Billionaire Survivor Celebrity Apprentice.” The biggest twist is that Donald Trump WILL NOT BE HOSTING, but will join Mitt Romney as a contestant seeking to win a billion dollars. It is now widely known that Trump was never an actual billionaire, but roughly as wealthy as Romney. Trump’s worth is estimated at $150 million to $250 million, which is about half the amount his father left him in inheritance. Though Trump has branded himself a billionaire for years, insiders know it is only for marketing. Both multimillionaire celebrities will be competing against others–including so far: Kim Kardashian, Damon Dash, P-Diddy, and Paris Hilton. Actor Boris Kodjoe was scheduled to be a part of the group, but Trump objected that he was not rich or famous enough; while others complained that it would not be fair to have a participant who had actual talent. Kodjoe, who does speak five languages, is not known to be very rich. “This has to be about rich guys getting richer,” Trump is reported to have said.
In another surprise twist, the show will be hosted by Charles Koch–the older billionaire co-owner of Koch Industries–an enemy of environmentalists and clean water enthusiasts around the nation. The dozen or so celebrity multimillionaires will be tested by the actual billionaire in a four year battle to determine who can endure the most humiliation from the 76 year-old Koch. In the end, only one will be left standing and take as a prize the position as the new billionaire Koch Party Presidential candidate for 2016. “The problem with 2012 is that we did not run a rich enough candidate to inspire the American People. We’re going to start our own party and do it right this time,” said the younger Koch, David. “We’re going to make him a hero to the people by having him win one of these reality shows. That will make the common man feel like he earned his money. By the time we’re through making these guys sniff our taint, America will elect our candidate out of pity.”
The show will run from November through the 2016 election. The networks are expecting a windfall. “This is like all the great shows rolled up into one,” said Les Moonves, president of CBS. Jeff Zucker of NBC added, “We’re already thinking of ways to combine other multi-network shows. Someone mentioned Hog Wars/X-factor/Duck Dynasty, but we haven’t worked out details yet–still we’re very excited.”
The story sounds crazy, but what’s scary is that when I first published it, most people thought it was true. That’s because it’s not outside the plausible. In fact, I may have given someone in Hollywood an idea. Sarah Palin went from running for Vice President to cashing in on her new found fame through a reality show called Sarah Palin’s Alaska.
Years ago I had a meeting with a television producer, former VP at Warner Brothers, who told me he was working on a reality show that was “like The Bachelor, only it was to select the president of the United States.” I don’t know if he was pitching it to get my reaction or if he was serious. It sounded crazy to me at the time, but it seems to be getting closer and closer to possible. I never heard anything else about it, but who knows? If Hollywood can make money from it, and the people are willing, I’m sure they’ll give it a try. The way this campaign has been running–with Romney changing positions every week without losing his support, it’s quite obvious people can be made to believe anything–either that or they don’t care. Or is it possible that the lines between reality and fiction have been so blurred that there are people who can’t tell the difference anymore and think the election is just a reality show that means nothing?
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