Fox Corp. chair Rupert Murdoch talked about acquiring “The Apprentice” — the NBC business reality show that made Donald Trump a household name — following the former president’s 2020 election defeat to Joe Biden, according to new court filings.
In a sworn deposition as part of Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News’ coverage of Trump’s bogus election fraud claims, Murdoch revealed he’d tossed around the idea with son and top Fox executive Lachlan Murdoch, reported the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
The father-and-son even met with the program’s producer Mark Burnett, who had previously sold the rights for the show to MGM.
But ultimately, the idea fizzled out.
It’s not clear what, if anything, Trump knew about the idea, nor if the Murdochs wanted to revive the show or just license the reruns.
Rupert Murdoch later expressed a fear that Trump could “kill” the show by turning it into “a full-time campaign vehicle,” per his deposition.
“We just got over the idea,” Murdoch said under oath. “You have a lot of crazy ideas in business. We talk about it, we do something, or we don’t do it.”
Murdoch rejected the suggestion that acquiring the rights could “satisfy” Trump, who after his 2020 defeat turned against Fox News and Murdoch and encouraged his supporters to watch other right-wing channels.
Starting in 2004, Trump hosted “The Apprentice” for 14 seasons on NBC.
The network cut ties with him in 2015, though, over his inflammatory and divisive rhetoric as he launched his 2016 run for the White House.
Action movie star-turned-GOP California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hosted the 15th and final season in 2017, during which he was repeatedly attacked by then-President Trump over ratings.