The WSJ reports today that reality show use to be the cheap way to program a network. That is changing quickly.
Before Donald Trump agreed to tape a second season of his hit reality show “The Apprentice,” he says he told NBC he’d need a few things. More creative control would be nice, and perhaps flashier living quarters for the contestants. And how about a personal publicist?
Then Mr. Trump took out his calculator. NBC paid him about $50,000 an episode the first season. But with his show winning huge ratings, Mr. Trump wanted a fat raise. He heard the six actors on the hit comedy “Friends” each took home about $1.5 million an episode so, as the sole star of “The Apprentice,” he figured he should get $9 million per show. Still, his program ran an hour and “Friends” just 30 minutes. Mr. Trump bumped the figure to $18 million. “That seemed fair,” he says in an interview. “I’m not being totally facetious.”
I think the lesson here is know what you are worth.