By Judy Kurtz
January 13, 2016
Even though NBC ended its business relationship with Donald Trump last year, the network’s chief is calling the GOP presidential front-runner “one of the most important political figures of our time.”
“We had a couple businesses that we were doing with [Trump] — ‘Apprentice’ and the pageants — we got out of both of those businesses,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in California, according to Variety magazine. “That was June or July when most of us thought he would be sort of waltzing into the background of the political arena, and lo-and-behold, he’s the frontrunner and the poll numbers are sort of astounding and he’s everywhere… every news show, morning show, night show, cable show.”
“I think that reconciles quite easily with we’re not in business with him, but love it or not, he’s one of the most important political figures of our time and he’s on our shows,” said Greenblatt.
The network parted ways with Trump last June, ending a business partnership the White House hopeful had with NBC as host of “Celebrity Apprentice” and as the then-co-owner and executive producer behind the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants, after he made controversial comments about immigrants during his presidential campaign kickoff.
At the time, Trump said NBC was “weak and foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States.”
But Trump has been a regular guest on NBC entertainment and news programs since the falling out. He appeared on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” on Monday, and guest hosted “Saturday Night Live” in November.
“He was on the show and the Earth didn’t fall on its axis,” Variety quoted Greenblatt as saying Wednesday of Trump’s “SNL” gig. “It was a highly rated show and that’s always a good thing. At the end of the day, he’s the frontrunner of the Republican nomination.”
“If we were in the business of never having anyone guest on the network that had views that were different than our views, we would be out of business,” Greenblatt said.
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