President Trump ripped media giant Comcast, the parent company of MSNBC and longtime home of his “Apprentice” reality series, during a lengthy rally for supporters at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Friday.
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“Comcast, terrible company, terrible people running that company,” Trump said. “I had Celebrity Apprentice on for 14 seasons and they used to come to my office and kiss my [expletive].”
Trump hosted “The Apprentice” and iterations of the series for from 2004 thru 2015. In its first season with Trump, it averaged 20 million viewers. However, ratings fluctuated in the ensuing seasons and by Trump's second to last season in 2012-2013, the show only averaged 5.8 million viewers weekly. The president said that NBC paid him “very little,” offering just $25,000 per episode for the first season.
Network executives initially thought the series would be “total failure,” according to the president. The initial contract for the show did not include an option for future seasons.
“It went to number one. I have the number one show in all of television. It was phenomenal,” Trump said.
Trump noted that ratings fell when Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced him as host in 2016 following the election.
Comcast did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Shares were mostly flat in trading Friday but coincidentally were near the lows of the day during Trump's remarks.
Trump also took aim at left-leaning broadcast network MSNBC, which he referred to as “MSDNC,” in a reference to the Democratic National Committee. The president has repeatedly sparred with cable news networks since taking office.