Donald Trump skewers Martha Stewart in new 'Apprentice' open letter
By Reality TV World staff, 02/21/2006
Don't look now, but whatever lingering "friendship" The Apprentice billionaires Donald Trump and Martha Stewart had appears to be over, with Trump following up their most recent squabble about the failure of Stewart's Apprentice spinoff by eviscerating Stewart in an open letter released to the media on Tuesday.
A shocked Stewart fired back on Tuesday evening, issuing a public statement in which she called Trump's letter "so mean-spirited and reckless that I almost can't believe my long-time friend Donald Trump wrote it."
Round 2 of the billionaires' public sparring over The Apprentice: Martha Stewart's ratings failure began earlier this week, with Newsweek publishing an interview in which Stewart told the magazine that she blamed Trump's desire to keep his own Apprentice series airing alongside her spinoff for her show's ratings failure.
"If I'd had my druthers, there would have been only one Apprentice on the air at one time," Stewart told the magazine in its issue that hit newsstands Monday. "The franchise, I think, should only be one show. It shouldn't be two shows."
The domestic diva also repeated her previous comments that she never expected NBC to air her Apprentice series alongside another Trump edition (a claim that was supported by NBC's initial comments about the series) and took things one step further this time around, alleging that Trump was behind NBC's decision to air both editions at the same time.
"I think having two Apprentices was as unfair to him as it was unfair to me. It should have been one Apprentice," said Stewart. "But Donald really wanted to stay on. So that’s what happened."
In addition to reiterating her earlier comments that she thought she'd be replacing Trump, Stewart also repeated her previous statement that her show was originally set to open with a boardroom scene in which she'd "fire" Trump.
"It was even discussed that I would be firing The Donald on the first show, [but] I don't think he ever knew," Stewart had told Fortune during the billionaires' initial media exchange in October. Although The Apprentice executive producer Mark Burnett acknowledges discussing the idea with Stewart, it remains unclear if Trump was ever informed of concept before the idea was dismissed.
Trump (who ironically blamed Stewart for his own show's ratings problems during last fall's squabbles) fired back at Stewart's latest comments before the Newsweek issue even hit newsstands on Monday morning. "I wish she would be able to take responsibility for her failure," Trump told The Associated Press on Sunday evening.
Things appeared to quiet down after that, however thinking about Stewart's latest comments clearly left Trump fuming and the real estate mogul unloaded on Stewart, her daughter Alexis, and her Martha daytime TV show in a scathing open letter released on Tuesday. A full copy of the letter follows below:
It's about time you started taking responsibility for your failed version of The Apprentice. Your performance was terrible in that the show lacked mood, temperament and just about everything else a show needs for success. I knew it would fail as soon as I first saw it -- and your low ratings bore me out.
Between your daughter, with her one word statements, your letter writing and, most importantly, your totally unconvincing demeanor, it never had a chance -- much as your daytime show is not exactly setting records.
Despite this, I did nothing but positively promote you. Your only response to your failed show was that, "I thought that I was supposed to fire Donald Trump!" You knew this was not true -- NBC would never fire me when The Apprentice was, for a good period of time, the #1 show on television and my recent finale, where I hired Randal, was the #2 show for the week, easily beating the competing finale of Amazing Race and others. Even Mark Burnett said, "Thank God that didn't happen," when asked about firing Donald Trump.
Essentially, you made this firing up just as you made up your sell order of ImClone. The only difference is -- that was more obvious. Putting your show on the air was a mistake for everybody -- especially NBC.
In any event, my great loyalty to you has gone totally unappreciated.
Donald J. Trump
P.S. Be careful or I will do a syndicated daytime show, perhaps called The Boardroom, and further destroy the meager ratings you already have!
Stewart fired back late on Tuesday, releasing a written public statement response:
The letter is so mean-spirited and reckless that I almost can't believe my long-time friend Donald Trump wrote it. I am very proud of the work we did with Mark Burnett Productions and Mr. Trump, who was an executive producer, on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Many young entrepreneurs learned so much from the show and enjoyed it. Many families sat their children down weekly to watch it. We are even more pleased with our excellent daytime show Martha – syndicated by NBC Universal – which has just been nominated for six daytime Emmys (including best show and best host), was touted by The New York Times as one of the best shows on television, and has been embraced by our wonderful audience throughout the country.