Donald Trump, being the smart businessman he is, knows that sex sells. And being the shrewd businessman he is, he's trying to bamboozle the public when it comes to his Miss USA pageant by doing interviews saying the "ratings have been terrific."
And that's why it is ridiculously obvious that when the Miss USA Organization, co-owned by Trump and NBC television, released a racy video lingerie photo shoot of this year's contestants on You Tube -- along with black & white photos of the women in provocative poses -- the sole purpose was to pump up the ratings for this Sunday night's telecast of the 2010 pageant on NBC.
The pageant airs Sunday night on NBC, and it draws more than the 5 million viewers who tuned in last year, then Trump will have again showed why he is a shrewd businessman, and all the advertisers who bought into the telecast will reap the benefits of reaching more viewers than they paid for.
A win-win for everyone.
Fact is, the television ratings for Miss USA have been steadily declining with last year's telecast drawing a record low of about 5 million viewers, about 18 percent lower than the previous year -- and way down from the 13 million that watched the pageant on NBC in 2004.
But Trump shouldn't be blamed for being a shill for his pageant and trying whatever means possible to spark interest and get viewers to tune in. (Pictured: Miss Mississippi.)
What's more annoying is that many media outlets, particularly some of the syndicated TV tabloid shows, have reported the events surrounding the release of the video photo shoot and photos as if Trump had intended it to legitimately be something harmless and innocuous, and that his motives were pure.
And few have seemed to question his misstatements that the ratings are terrific.
Yeah, just like during last year's pageant when one of the judges, Perez Hilton asked contestant Carrie Prejean her opinion on gay marriages.
Clearly, no judge is allowed to ask a question to contestants unless it is first run by Trump, particularly not a racy question like that. But again, after the firestorm that her answer created, no one in the media seemed to link anything to the pageant organizers or to The Donald, simply taking aim at Hilton for asking the question.
If Hilton had asked that question without Trump's knowledge, surely The Donald would have spoken out after it happened and during the subsequent controversy.
The point is, all televised beauty pageants are dying and it seems each year that something outrageous needs to be done to attempt to spark viewer interest.
Trumps comments that, "[The photos] are a bit sexy" but "everybody's watching so I have no problems with it," are fine, if he would just take out the "everybody's watching" part. What he should have said is, "[The photos] are sexy, and I have no problems with it. I just hope that it will motivate some guys to tune in and watch the pageant."
To NBC's credit, Matt Lauer, on yesterday's NBC “Today Show,” asked pageant president Paula Shugart, if the photos weren't just released to generate controversy and buzz during the week leading into the pageant.
Her response: "Yes, to some degree it's marketing. But we've always been the cutting-edge pageant. We're owned by Donald Trump."