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Donald Trump wanted to bring O.J. Simpson on “The Celebrity Apprentice,” but NBC wouldn’t have it.
CNN unearthed a 2008 interview on “The Howard Stern Show” in which Trump said that bringing Simpson on would’ve been the ultimate ratings grab.
“I do have to tell you about O.J. and ‘The Apprentice,'” the current Republican presidential candidate told Stern at the time. “NBC went totally crazy when I wanted to put O.J. on ‘The Apprentice.'”
Trump would’ve extended the invitation to Simpson even though he believed that the former NFL star killed his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and was in the middle of trial proceedings for a 2007 robbery.
“I hadn’t spoken to him in years, I don’t like people that kill their wives,” he told the shock jock. “Does that make sense? Does that make me a disloyal person?”
But as Trump has said many times in this election, he’s fiercely dedicated to the success of his businesses and that apparently extended to “The Apprentice.”
“Well, you know, in your business, there’s a thing called ratings,” he responded when Stern asked him why he would ask Simpson to be on “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
“So I know that if you come up with a cure for cancer, and if you put it on, and if it doesn’t get ratings, they will not broadcast it,” he continued. “Now, I know this, if I put O.J. on, huge ratings. Oh, forget it, 35 million people.”
Trump refused to confirm if he had actually reached out to Simpson with an offer, though the real-estate mogul said, “O.J. would’ve done it.”
NBC had officially already squashed the possibility ahead of this interview when it released a statement to press in April 2008: “NBC representatives have never considered O.J. Simpson for the next season of ‘The Apprentice,’ nor will.”
At the time, “The Apprentice” ratings were running out of steam. Viewership for season six averaged just 7.5 million viewers. The next season, Trump and NBC introduced the celebrity version, which then scored 11 million viewers.