NBC Boss on Network’s Role in Creating Trump’s Celebrity: That’s TV’s Job

TCA 2016: Bob Greenblatt tackles question of how “The Apprentice” helped make a monster

Bob Greenblatt knew he’d get a Donald Trump question Tuesday morning during the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour — he just thought it’d be earlier in his executive session.

“I can’t believe we got all the way through this without [a Trump] question,” Greenblatt joked about the penultimate query of the morning’s first panel.

Specifically, a reporter asked the NBC Entertainment chairman to discuss the responsibility of the broadcaster in growing the GOP nominee’s celebrity to the point of his current political opportunity.

“Isn’t the role of television to create celebrity in the world? That’s what every show does,” Greenblatt responded. “‘Bedtime for Bonzo’ helped (former President Ronald) Reagan become a national prominent figure.”

“We were happy to have a show that was doing really well, with a guy who was a big TV star,” he added. “It’s impossible to predict where it goes from there. I think it surprised all of us that he would want to do this, but I guess that’s what’s great about this country.”

As TheWrap exclusively reported, the Arnold Schwarzenegger “Celebrity Apprentice” era kicks off on Jan. 2 at 8/7c.

When Trump exited the franchise, his famous “You’re Fired” catchphrase also got shown the door. Read about some of the likely replacements here from our interview with NBC Entertainment Alternative and Reality Group president Paul Telegdy.