After announcing on Monday that he won’t run for U.S. president, Donald Trump returned to NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice for the season finale last night. It drew a 2.9 rating in 18-49, up 16% from last week but down 15% from last spring to rank as the lowest-rated spring Apprentice finale ever. Still, Celebrity Apprentice was the second-highest-rated program of the night in 18-49, tied with the 2011 Billboard Music Awards on ABC, which returned from a five-year hiatus up 7% vs. its last telecast in 2006 and helped ABC win the night in 18-49. Topping the demo ratings leader board last night was Fox’s Family Guy, whose season finale was down 6% from last week and 3% from last season’s finale. The finale of American Dad (1.6) was down 11% from last week, Bob’s Burgers finished its freshman season with a 2.1, down a tenth from last week, and veteran The Simpsons (2.5) was even with last week and last year’s finale. On CBS, the latest Jesse Stone movie, Innocents Lost, drew a typically for star Tom Selleck’s large but older crowd: a paltry 1.3 rating in 18-49 but a sizable audience of 13.3 million viewers.
UPDATE MONDAY AM: NBC made a big headline at its upfront presentation today regarding Donald Trump who took the stage to deliver the news: “After getting so many calls from NBC executives, I’ve decided that I will continue onward with The Apprentice. I will not be running for president, as much as I wanted to,” he said. “This will be our 12th season. I love Celebrity Apprentice.” Just yesterday, NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said on a conference call that NBC was working on plans to replace Trump on The Apprentice should he decide to run. After Trump’s statement, which drew big applause from the audience of ad buyers, Greenblatt quipped, “Every network wants to make news at its upfront. Try topping that!” Over the past few months, Trump had been publicly flirting with the idea of running for President. At some point, he mulled announcing his final decision on the season finale of Celebrity Apprentice but then scrapped that idea.
SUNDAY: NBC had both Sunday Night Football and Celebrity Apprentice on its just-revealed schedule for next season despite the NFL football season being in limbo because of the current players lockout and Celebrity Apprentice star Donald Trump mulling a presidential bid. During a conference call today, NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt expressed hope that both football and The Donald will be back but also said that the network is working on contingency plans if that doesn’t happen.
“Certainly we’re hoping that he will be back with us,” Greenblatt said of Trump. But if he isn’t, “we will bring the show back and have someone else at the head of the boardroom table. … (Celebrity Apprentice) is too strong a franchise for us not to consider that.” Greenblatt wouldn’t discuss whom they have in mind as a replacement for Trump, only saying that it would be someone who is “confident and galvanizing.”
As for Sunday Night Football, “we feel pretty good about where we are with the NFL and “pretty optimistic that football will be there,” Greenblatt said. “Worst-case scenario, (the season) will be delayed by a few weeks.” NBC is already working on “high-quality, live entertainment reality-type shows that would fill the gap,” Greenblatt said. He wouldn’t elaborate, only noting that they are “attention-getting big ideas” and that NBC will air the specials elsewhere on the schedule if there is no delay to the football season.
Other tidbits from the NBC call:
In light of the pending exit of Reveille managing director Howard T. Owens, Eden Gaha, a longtime Mark Burnett collaborator and showrunner of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, has been named Reveille president. Reveille’s parent company Shine Group had been looking to tap creative and producer types in the top management positions for the next phase of the company, and Gaha fits the bill. This has become an industry-wide trend over the past year, with several production companies appointing top producers for management posts, especially on the reality side, including Zodiak USA. Gaha is not directly replacing Owens as Owens had been overseeing the entire Reveille slate: unscripted, scripted, digital and brand integration. Gaha will run the reality/digital/brand operations, while Shine Group Americas CEO Emiliano Calemzuk will oversee scripted development and production. Here is the release, which includes several other recent executive appointments at Reveille:
LOS ANGELES, CA (May 6, 2011) – It was announced today that Eden Gaha has been appointed to the position of President, Reveille, LLC. Show runner of the successful Celebrity Apprentice franchise since 2006, Gaha will head Reveille’s unscripted, creative, development, digital and brand integration departments. Starting in June, he joins a series of recent production hires at the Shine Group-owned company, and reports to Shine Group Americas CEO Emiliano Calemzuk, who will continue to oversee the company’s scripted output.
This just isn’t Donald Trump’s weekend. First on Saturday he was skewered by President Barack Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner because of Trump’s relentless attacks relating to Obama’s birth certificate. Then tonight, the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed by an Obama-ordered U.S. Navy Seals mission broke in …