Donald Trump: The Apprentice Ratings

Donald Trump, the infamous businessman-turned-politician, gained immense popularity through his television show, “The Apprentice.” Premiering in 2004 on NBC, the reality competition series not only propelled Trump’s brand but also became a cultural phenomenon. The show featured aspiring entrepreneurs competing for a chance to work with Trump and receive his mentorship.

While “The Apprentice” offered a glimpse into Trump’s business acumen, it was the show’s ratings that turned it into a powerhouse. From its debut season to its final iteration, “The Celebrity Apprentice,” Trump’s television venture dominated the airwaves and captivated audiences across the United States. In this blog post, we explore the journey of “The Apprentice” ratings and delve into the factors that contributed to its success.

The Rise of “The Apprentice”

“The Apprentice” burst onto the scene in January 2004, and its inaugural season was an instant hit. Drawing an average of 20.7 million viewers per episode, the show quickly became one of NBC’s highest-rated programs at the time. Trump’s larger-than-life persona, his catchphrase “You’re fired,” and the intense boardroom drama kept audiences hooked week after week.

The success of the first season led to even greater anticipation for Season 2. NBC promoted the show extensively, which resulted in increased viewership. Not only did the ratings climb higher, but “The Apprentice” also began to dominate the coveted 18-49 demographic. This demographic was crucial for advertisers, and the show’s popularity among this age group secured its future.

By Season 3, “The Apprentice” had firmly established itself as a must-watch television show. It consistently ranked among the top programs in its time slot and helped NBC regain its position as a major player in prime-time programming. With each passing season, the show continued to garner a loyal fanbase and attract new viewers.

The Celebrity Factor

To inject new life into the series, Trump and the show’s producers introduced a celebrity edition, aptly titled “The Celebrity Apprentice,” in 2008. This spin-off featured well-known personalities, including actors, musicians, and athletes, competing on behalf of various charitable organizations.

“The Celebrity Apprentice” proved to be a game-changer for the franchise. Not only did it generate higher ratings, but it also attracted viewers who had not previously watched the show. The allure of seeing celebrities take on business challenges, all while trying to impress Trump, added a fresh and exciting element to “The Apprentice” formula.

The celebrity editions of “The Apprentice” featured big names like Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers, Bret Michaels, and Arsenio Hall. These star-studded seasons brought a level of intrigue and curiosity among the general public. Viewers wanted to see how well-known personalities navigated the ruthless boardroom and tackled the intricate tasks set before them.

Controversies and Ratings

Donald Trump, often known for his controversial statements and polarizing personality, inadvertently attracted more attention to “The Apprentice.” His outlandish remarks outside the show became news headlines, which ultimately translated into higher viewer interest. The ratings surged as viewers tuned in to watch the man behind the controversy each week.

One of the most notable controversies involving Trump and “The Apprentice” aired during the lead-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in which Trump was a candidate. Despite concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest, the show continued to air, and the ratings remained steady. This unusual blend of politics and reality television added to the intrigue and made “The Apprentice” a topic of discussion in both political and entertainment circles.

Legacy and End of “The Apprentice”

“The Apprentice” achieved remarkable success during its 14-year run. It not only bolstered Trump’s brand but also paved the way for future reality competition series. The show’s influenctrichood led to spin-offs in numerous countries worldwide, sparking the creation of local versions, such as “The Apprentice UK,” “The Apprentice Australia,” and “El Aprendiz” (The Apprentice) in Latin America.

However, as Trump’s political career gained momentum, “The Apprentice” eventually came to an end. NBC cut ties with Trump in 2015 following his controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants. The network’s decision to sever its relationship with Trump marked the end of an era for “The Apprentice.” Despite attempts to revive the show with a new host, Schwarzenegger, the magic fizzled out, and the ratings declined.


“The Apprentice” was a ratings powerhouse that propelled Donald Trump’s brand and showed his expertise in the business world. From its humble beginnings to its celebrity editions, the show consistently garnered high ratings. The controversies surrounding Trump also played a significant role in the show’s success, making “The Apprentice” a topic of discussion beyond the television screen.

While “The Apprentice” may no longer grace our television screens, its legacy lives on. It inspired countless other reality competition series and solidified Trump’s status as a pop culture icon. Whether you loved or loathed the show, “The Apprentice” undeniably left an indelible mark on the reality television landscape.

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