Trump wanted an all-white team to compete against an all-black one on 'The Apprentice', but NBC shot the idea down
The Apprentice could have taken a very different direction if Donald Trump had proceeded with one highly controversial idea.
According to a New York Times report over the weekend, then-reality TV star Trump pitched a white-versus-black season of the NBC show in 2005. However, the idea was immediately struck down by network bosses.
The real estate mogul discussed the proposal on Howard Stern's radio show around the same time, explaining the preferred demographics of the season's contestants.
“It would be nine blacks against nine whites, all highly educated, very smart, strong, beautiful people,” Trump said in an audio clip obtained by the Times.
As Trump prepared for the fourth season of the franchise in 2005, the outlet reported, he proposed the idea to NBC execs in a bid to make the series the “highest-rated show on television.”
The Times learned from unidentified sources that after the controversial pitch, network executives held a “series of can-you-believe-this conversations inside a network” before quickly dismissing the idea. Furthermore, a former boss allegedly recalled telling Trump, “Uh, I don’t think so!”
However, the future president did not let go of the idea immediately.
While the paper didn't specify whether Trump's appearance on Stern's radio show was before or after he approached the network, he discussed the idea with Stern and his African-American co-host Robin Quivers the same year.
“It would be nine blacks against nine whites, all highly educated, very smart, strong, beautiful people,” Trump is heard saying in the audio clip obtained by the Times.
When he asked the duo if they "like it", Stern responded in the affirmative, while Quivers said, “Well, I think you’re going to have a riot."
According to the report, Trump went on to explain that the proposed season would include an “assortment” of light-skinned and black-skinned contestants, and that the white team would feature "only blondes."
“Wouldn’t that set off a racial war in this country?” asked Stern. “See, actually, I don’t think it would,” Trump allegedly responded. “I think that it would be handled very beautifully by me. Because, as you know, I’m very diplomatic.”
Stern, who reportedly acknowledged that “on some level it’s wrong,” later added he would definitely watch a black-versus-white season of The Apprentice.
Meanwhile, Quivers quipped, “You’d have to. Because you’d want to know when the riot starts.”
You can listen to a portion of Trump's conversation with Stern here.