“I will not be running for president. See you for a great season,” “Celebrity Apprentice” star Donald Trump announced Monday at NBC’s new-schedule presentation to advertisers at a Hilton hotel in midtown Manhattan.
Trump, of course, has been much in the news lately, saying he was mulling a run at the White House and jumping on the whole “birther” movement and holding news conferences to congratulate himself.
“I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and, ultimately, the general election,” Trump said in a statement released Monday simultaneous with his announcement at NBC’s programming presentation.
“I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half-heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”
And about that: On Sunday afternoon, NBC suits had said they would bring back “Celebrity Apprentice” in the first quarter of 2012, with or without Trump in the boardroom firing C-listers.
Monday’s announcement came as something of a surprise, buried as it was in the last few minutes of NBC’s presentation. And yet, the timing made perfect sense: NBC was there to persuade advertisers — upfront — to buy commercial time in next season’s prime-time lineup. And a Trump-less “Celebrity Apprentice” would surely have commanded a lower CPM (that’s Cost Per Thousand, as in sets of eyeballs) than a “Celebrity Apprentice” with Trump in the boardroom whacking celebrities.
“I love ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ ” Trump told advertisers, noting that it has raised “tens of millions for charity.”
The sea of gray-suited ad execs in the hotel ballroom seemed confused by Trump’s political contribution to NBC’s dog-and-pony show, shortly after they’d seen a clip from a new crime drama series in which Little Red Riding Hood is updated as Little Red Jogging Hoodie. The rest of the NBC upfront presentation was equally confusing.
The fourth-place network’s new programming chief, Bob Greenblatt, told advertisers that he hopes to start NBC “on the road to recovery,” and new NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert promised advertisers that the network would now be “a little less ‘reinvention of the wheel’ and a lot more of TV101.”
But nobody had briefed “Saturday Night Live’s” Seth Meyers on the current state of NBC. Meyers kicked off the presentation with some real We’re King of the World material:
“This is like getting the hot girl first in speed dating,” Meyers cracked — NBC being the first broadcast network to make its pitch to advertisers this week.
Meyers continued, saying that the retirement of TV vets Regis Philbin, Larry King and Jim Lehrer means “CBS is gaining three new viewers!” Except CBS — the old folks’ network — now attracts 26 percent more of the younger viewers than does NBC.
Fox’s prime-time lineup
Fox swears that Steven Spielberg’s oft-delayed dinosaur drama, “Terra Nova,” really will debut. This fall. Mondays at 8. Honest!
And J.J. Abrams’s time-traveling prison drama, “Alcatraz,” will air during midseason — scout’s honor!
And Kiefer Sutherland is returning to Fox — sometime!
And you only have to wait two years for Seth MacFarlane to exhume “The Flintstones.”
Fox suits unveiled all those things Monday afternoon to advertisers at its Upfront Week Palooza at the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan.
And of course, Simon Cowell’s back. With Paula Abdul.
Oh, and Fox has canceled “America’s Most Wanted” as a weekly series, in favor of — reruns. So what if you have a missing child or other relative and had hoped to have the case profiled on the long-running Saturday reality series. You’ll have to wait for a quarterly two-hour special and hope for the best?
On Mondays, “Terra Nova,” from Spielberg (and former Fox-parent honcho Peter Chernin), follows an “ordinary” family on a journey back to “prehistoric” Earth as a small part of a daring experiment to save the human race — and, we hope, do something about cable TV prices.
Fox has been talking about “Terra Nova” for ages and, most recently, the show was supposed to launch this very month. But you know how it goes at Fox — the network’s schedule is always its best guess.
On a phone call with reporters Monday morning — to talk about the new schedule they would unveil to ad execs in the afternoon — Fox execs once again pointed their finger at the show’s special effects as the reason for the delay — 250 in the first two hours alone! Or so they say.