Donald Trump planning to hit the clubs looking for 'Tramp' contestants
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/15/2007
Donald Trump is a real-estate mogul and billionaire businessman known for his comb-over coif and the pleasure he takes in firing contestants from his The Apprentice reality series.
But The Donald is also apparently a regular of the nightclub scene -- an experience he plans on using to actively cast for Lady or a Tramp, a new still-in-development Fox reality series that would take a group of girls out of their wild and crazy lifestyles and send them to charm school where they'll attempt to become proper women.
"To be honest, the best casting will be by going into the various clubs and picking them out. That's when you really see somebody in terms of what we're doing," he toldThe Washington Post on Thursday. "It's hard to cast someone when they're in a [casting] line, [but at clubs] you can pick a whole room of them. Unfortunately, who knows that scene better than I do? Somebody's got to do it."
Trump's willingness to take one for the team is part of the what RDF USA CEO Chris Coelen -- citing the compassion The Donald showed by letting former Miss USA Tara Conners clean-up her act in substance abuse rehab instead of taking away her crown away -- says prompted his production company to approach The Apprentice star about helping them develop Lady or a Tramp for Fox.
"That kind of experience and that kind of interest and passion make him the perfect guy," Coelen told The Post. "He's been through it... He's a guy who, like it or not, stood up and said, 'This is screwed up and we've got to do something about it.'"
Trump told The Post he "never thought of" the connection between how he dealt with Conners and the premise for Lady or a Tramp, which is based on Ladette to Lady, a British reality series that sent a group of women to Britain's Eggleston Hall charm school. While Lady or a Tramp's exact format details are still be worked out, Coelen says it will be somewhat similar to Ladette to Lady -- with Trump "hopefully" providing the party girls "on-air pointers" to help them shape-up their lives.
"I love the concept," The Donald told ThePost. "It's in a way very entertaining, but it's very educational, because a lot of young women are going to learn from it, just like Tara Conner. I got literally thousands of letters from people thanking me for the Tara Conner thing -- not only people her age, but older... I think this can be highly educational, in terms of young women that are going wild -- [The Simple Life star Paris Hilton and actress Lindsay Lohan]... there are thousands of young women like that, who destroy their lives before they get a chance."
One Ladette to Lady feature Coelen told The Post he plans on keeping for Lady or a Tramp will be the "redemptive" storylines used to illustrate to viewers the "real feeling of personal triumph" experienced by the excessive party-goers.
"You accomplish something -- as much as people love the party scene, there is also something very empty about it," Coelen told The Post. "As fun and crazy as it is, there's also a loneliness about it."
Coelen told The Post that, assuming all just well, Fox has "fast-tracked" the series to air sometime during the 2007-2008 primetime programming season. The Donald said he can only hope Lady or a Tramp does the same for its cast members as he did for Conners.
"That was a great transformation. Hopefully she'll stay that way -- call me in two years. She's a wonderful girl," he told The Post.