Is Trump’s Birther Rhetoric Hurting Celebrity Apprentice Ratings?

The Atlantic’s Joshua Green thinks so:

While Trump has gotten plenty of airtime by suggesting, wrongly, that the president was not born in the United States, Nielsen rating for “Celebrity Apprentice” are lower than they were a year ago — and dropping fast. One reason Trump’s audience is abandoning him may be that, according to demographic research of primetime television viewers provided exclusively to The Atlantic by National Media Inc., a firm that places political ads on television, the audience for “Celebrity Apprentice” is among the most liberal in primetime television


Gauging the effect of Trump’s presidential run on his viewership is a fairly tricky science. There are actually two distinct “Apprentice” shows — the ordinary “Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice,” which is the one currently airing Sunday nights on NBC. What’s more, the neither “Apprentice” series runs for a full television season. According to media experts like Feltus, in order to properly measure Trump’s effect on his audience it is necessary to do an apples-to-apples comparison — that is, to measure the current season of “Celebrity Apprentice” against the most recent season of that same show, which aired last spring. (Last fall, NBC also aired a run of the ordinary “Apprentice.”)

By that measure, Trump’s ratings have clearly dropped. The fall-off has been especially pronounced over the last few weeks, a period that coincides with Trump’s emphasis on Obama’s birth certificate. “Something is definitely going on there,” another media buyer told me. “He’s dropped — and that’s a big fucking dip.” Given the liberal skew of Trump’s viewership, that dip might not be surprising.

Here’s a chart that tells it all:

Couldn’t happen to a more well-deserving guy.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Entertainment, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. mantis says:

    I may be mistaken, but doesn’t the drop also coincide with Gary Busey being “fired?” I know at least a couple of people who watched just to see what that lunatic would do.

  2. Jeff says:

    Correlation = Causation …

    So it looks like Trump was not doing this for ratings … I wonder if he has another reason ?

  3. jwest says:


    I don’t watch “The Apprentice”, but let me try to help out on the subject of chart reading.

    It appears that this year’s show started with slightly less than last year’s premier. In all subsequent weeks, this year’s show has been one to two million more viewers – a substantial increase.

    The week 7 results seem to match last year’s week 6 results (the week before the final episode). As one would anticipate, the final show of last year drew numerous viewers. As I understand from Trump’s comments today, the final episode of this year has not been shown yet. If history is any guide, the show will probably surpass last year’s finale.

    Although there are some liberals on this site naïve enough to believe that Trump’s birther stance has been hurting his ratings, you still have to contend with people who can read charts.

  4. Oh jeez you guyz, says:

    Frankly, I don’t know that viewers (liberal or not) care that Trump is sounding like some cracker—birther nut job. I expect that viewers are probably not watching Celebrity Apprentice for the same reason that the networks that carry English-language programming over here in Korea didn’t pick it up after season 1–it’s a terrible show. Watching the pilot light on a waffle iron is more entertaining. And you get waffles when the light goes out–a win-win situation if ever there was one.

  5. Dump Trump says:

    When I read his chart I see that he show was getting low ratings in the begining, then he started that noise about running for President, which increased his ratings. Around week six is when he made the comment about “THE BLACKS” like him, which resulted in some of “THE BLACKS” not watching anymore. Now that the President showed his birth certificate and Trump now wants to see his college transcript because his RACIST ASS can not believe that a black man got into a better college than him and his son in laws parents had to pay for him to get into Ivy League school there is no way that a black man could get into Harvard or Columbia based on his grades, has now PISSED the “THE BLACKS ” and we are calling a massive protest of everything Donald Trump including his show and his sponsors. And if you dont think it is real ask Groupon who just cancelled the Apprentice ads on their website. So keep watching the charts it will continue to decline.

  6. monnie says:

    have long been wishing the donald would self-destruct, and from seeing his spewing ass on nearly every channel, it looks like he will do so sooner rather than later

  7. K.SiIRAK says:

    I am surprised that his daughter does not stop him from this medness which is
    running his image big time.