CNBC has Shark Tank and Fox Business nearly had The Apprentice.
Fox Corp executive chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch and his father Fox Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch apparently discussed purchasing NBC’s business reality competition series The Apprentice in November 2020, soon after the presidential election, according to court documents released earlier this week.
The Wall Street Journal, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, first reported the news.
The Apprentice was originally hosted and executive produced by Donald Trump before he ran and went on to become President of the United States.
At the time the Murdochs were discussing the possibility of purchasing the series, Trump was challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election, falsely alleging there had been voter fraud.
Asked by an attorney if such a transaction would be a “a way to satisfy Mr. Trump” and “bring him in the tent,” Rupert Murdoch said, “No.”
Fox ultimately decided not to purchase rights to The Apprentice for Fox Business Network. “You have a lot of crazy ideas in business. We talk about it, we do something, or we don’t do it,” Murdoch said in his deposition.
It’s not clear if the Murdochs were interested in acquiring reruns of The Apprentice or if they wanted to produce and air original episodes in FBN Primetime. Rupert Murdoch said in his deposition that he “having second thoughts” because “Trump would turn it into a full-time campaign vehicle” which would “kill it.” He added in a message that was unsealed as part of the case, “Trump would want a fortune but maybe it’s worth it.”