NBC made quite the spectacle last summer when it cut all business ties with Donald Trump, citing the GOP front runner’s “derogatory statements” about Mexican immigrants didn’t jive with their company values.
This seemingly hypocritical business move caused the veteran network to get blasted with questions on Wednesday at the Television Critics Association‘s press tour!
According to NBC entertainment chair Robert Greenblatt, the network didn’t actually think Trump would last in the presidential race! He said:
“I think what we said is we wanted to be out of business with him. We had a couple businesses that we were doing with him ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Apprentice and the [Miss USA and Miss Universe] pageants. We got out of both of those businesses and that was July, when most of us thought he would be sort of waltzing into the background of the political arena. And lo and behold, he’s [now] the frontrunner. The poll numbers are astounding, and he’s everywhere.”
The executive explained how having “one of the most important political figures of our time” on late night shows like Fallon and SNL isn’t so much doing business as it is providing the audience with entertaining, relevant guests! He added:
“I think that if we were in the business of never having anyone guest on the network that had views that disagreed with our views, we would be out of business. And I’ll go back to what I said before, whether we agree with him or not, he is in a very visible position in our electoral process coming up.”
We don’t disagree, election season usually results in a ratings spike for late night shows with topical political sketches.
And like it or not, people are definitely tuning in — Trump’s stint hosting SNL in November was the show’s highest rated episode in four years!
Programming president Paul Telegdy explained that the network could still have him appear on their programs, citing how cutting business ties with someone:
“…doesn’t prevent you from booking someone who’s in the public eye on a news program or an entertainment program, if they’re either newsworthy or if you think they’re entertaining.”
Let’s just say what we’re all thinking… it was for ratings! Don’t you feel better now, NBC?
It looks like the line between business and entertainment is a blurry one in the entertainment industry. But one thing we can agree on — Trump is quite the entertaining specimen!
[Image via NBC.]