July 27, 2004

Trump calculates his "Apprentice" salary.

I can't link to it, but the front page of the Wall Street Journal today has an article about how expensive it's getting to be to put on a TV reality show. The shows used to be a way to populate the screen with human beings who didn't have to be paid much, as compared with a show that needed actors. Now Donald Trump, who only got $55,000 an episode in the first season of "The Apprentice" figures he ought to be paid $18,000,000 an episode. That math sounds like something one of the contestants on the show would come up with. Hey, it makes sense: The actors on "Friends" got $1,500,000 an episode, but there were six of them sharing the work. If one guy has to carry the whole thing, that's 1.5 times 6: $9,000,000. But "Friends" was only a half hour show. "The Apprentice" is an hour. So, 9 times 2: That's $18,000,000. Trump said, "I'm not being totally facetious." The art of the deal, in the end, got him to a six figure salary.

Bonus anecdote: Last fall, I was walking down Fifth Avenue, past Trump Tower, when I heard a woman say to a boy who was perhaps 5 years old: "Donald lives there!" The boy said: "Donald who?" Is a little kid supposed to be so aware of Donald Trump that he knows what you're talking about when you call him by his first name? Is a little kid supposed to care? I guess it's never to early to teach your kids to marvel at wealth.

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