The Apprentice Effect

So I just got off the phone with the writer who has been interviewing me, and 'fact-checking' the comments to her by others, for the past month. I have marginally worried about what would be taken out of context, especially with my peers and former colleagues 'waxing poetic' about their revelations in hindsight. Kinda like Mark Burnett's awkward comment at the Emmy's where he took credit for the crazy presidential race, being British, he would be sardonic about the chaos, being who he is as an 'entrepreneur,' he would take credit for the candidate's inexplicably meteoric rise in the polls, which isn't that surprising given the precursor for such self-congratulatory benchmarks of praise: the television rating.

He's been trained to value his 'effect' by the numbers. 19 million viewers tuned in for the premiere, an unprecedented number when you consider that first episode was presented in the very (relatively) unpopular hour and a half (90 minutes including commercials) format.

The next day, hungover, from the events of the night before, I went looking for my car which was parked elsewhere, and discovered a few hours later tahat we had hit some parameter of greatness, our 'water cooler' was assured. The 'message boards" went nuts, the talk was aflutter with the buzz about a 'smart' reality show featuring a 1970s slumlord who was boisterous and bigger than life, he epitomized the great American city of New York, which, after 9-11, was in need of a makeover as the city that rebounds, on every level, including the resurrected fame of a 1970s silver spoon developer, whose claim to fame was transforming a shithole into a hotel with "Grand" in its name (the Grand Hyatt kicked off a chain of 'quasi-luxury hotel brands that extended from Hilton to Westin with Trump Tower-Bejing thrown in for good measure.

Supposedly, the number one way that he has made his money in recent years is selling off his name, as associated with any "Tower" the world over and any "Apprentice" from 
Uzbekistan to Bolivia, where the "CEOs" get out of their limos and lumber up to their respective boardrooms around the 'free' world, touting unbridled capitalism and forthright 'tough talk' as the key principles that drive a person's ultimate success.

That, and charm. That, and a certain 'je ne sais crois,' spmething you can't quite put your finger on, the one who got away, the one you never see again, they won't be there, too elusive, too mysterious, too evasive for simple, definitive, final absolutes.

What would represent me doing my job back then? Running across a street in Chelsea shoving a hot dog down my throat as my crew Nextel rang, with boss on the other end, chewing me out for some such other thing that was not my fault but would be now, because everything was the Producer's fault on that show, especially if that producer happened to be the 6 foot tall woman who was producing more episodes than anyone else because no one else could handle the workload, with such a modicum of grace and humility. Not that those qualities were even valued, but they were key to the success of the 'show,' the creative entity that lives outside the cult of personality. The organic 'thing' that lives a life of its own in a vault somewhere next to Johnny Carson's lost interviews (the ones you try to license for cheap producers from around the world tryign to crack the code on the story of American hegemony).

Yes, those were the days, my friend, we could not wait to end
that's how it should go
for the early years of the 2000s
And so now here we are in 2016 faced with this mess created by reality tv.