“There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row,” she said, “And he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him—”
“Should have gotten it,” Trump interrupted.
“Rest assured,” the Television Academy soon tweeted, “the Emmys are not rigged.”
There’s a small part of me that’s inclined to agree that Trump should have won, if only because the Emmy might have satisfied his megalomaniacal hunger for power, sparing our country a lot of trouble. But here are we are!
Once upon a time, before the self-described billionaire became a living, breathing embodiment of racism, sexism, and xenophobia—as well as the main character in at least 80% of my stress dreams—he was the host of NBC’s The Apprentice, which aired from 2004 to 2010 and saw aspiring business titans compete for a job in one of the real estate magnate’s companies. And once upon a time, the Emmys did him wrong. So very wrong.
Some background: The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Competition Program was introduced in 2003. Since then, 10 of the 14 trophies awarded in this category have gone to The Amazing Race, the long-running, Phil Keoghan-hosted CBS series that dispatches teams of two in a—you guessed it—race around the world. The only other shows ever to have won are Top Chef (in 2010) and The Voice (in 2013, 2015, and 2016).
While it aired, The Apprentice was nominated for Outstanding Reality Competition just twice. Compare that to Survivor (four times), The Voice and So You Think You Can Dance (five times each), American Idol (nine times), Top Chef (10 times), and Dancing With the Stars (11 times). It’s also worth noting that The Apprentice garnered six more Emmy nominations in other categories—for cinematography, directing, picture editing, and sound editing—but lost all of them.
How did a man who could literally become the leader of the free world get so very, very angry that no one would give him a prize for telling people they’re fired? Let’s take a look back.
- The Apprentice premieres on NBC in January.
- Donald Trump becomes a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in June.
- The Apprentice is nominated for Outstanding Reality Competition, alongside The Amazing Race, American Idol, Survivor, and Last Comic Standing.
- At the 56th Primetime Emmy Awards in September, Donald Trump and Simon Cowell co-present the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series to Cynthia Nixon for Sex and the City. Trump makes it through his time on stage without calling Nixon or any of her fellow nominees a “nasty woman,” so I’d say it went OK.