Jun 11, 2024 - Business

1 fun thing: Trump media whisperer



Variety editor-in-chief Ramin Setoodeh has landed more on-the-record interviews with former President Trump (6) than any other reporter since he left office, a testament to Setoodeh's tenacity and also Trump's penchant for coverage as a reality star, not a politician.

Why it matters: There have been dozens of books published about the former president, but few have explored his psyche as it relates to Hollywood stardom.

Driving the news: "Apprentice in Wonderland: How Donald Trump and Mark Burnett Took America Through the Looking Glass," provides a detailed account — mostly in Trump's own words — about how his experience hosting "The Apprentice" on NBC created his media template that boosted his political career.

Some fun nuggets, exclusively for Axios:

  • Trump believes he has leverage over news networks for ratings. He bragged to Satoodeh about the ratings from his interview with NBC News' Kristen Welker last year, her first interview as host of "Meet the Press." "I heard it did phenomenally good. That's what I am, a ratings machine."
  • He takes credit for CNN CEO Chris Licht's ousting, telling Satoodeh that he thinks Licht was fired because he gave Trump a platform during a town hall event in May 2023. "That got high ratings — so high that they fired the guy that ran CNN because I got my point of view across," Trump said.
  • Eric Trump suggested to Satoodeh that the Trump family credits "The Apprentice" for its political stardom, "'The Apprentice' paved the way for the entire presidency," he said.

What's next: The book, available on Amazon, is out next Tuesday, June 18th.


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