Like most dramatic exes, Donald Trump and CNN chief Jeff Zucker go back a long way. Before the former became president of the United States and the latter became president of CNN Worldwide, they would exchange weekly phone calls to discuss the success of the then-thriving Apprentice. Zucker was the head of NBC Entertainment at the time and had to keep the Apprentice host happy. Once, according to a profile of Zucker in the New York Times, Trump came to him with an idea for another TV show. The premise was part-Dyansty, part-pageant, and Trump insisted that if NBC moved forward with it that they hire real models.
Having Trump as “talent” came with certain obligations. There was the weekly phone call, during which Trump would boast about his latest ratings or complain about the performance of the shows leading into The Apprentice. When Trump wanted to create a scripted fictional show called The Tower — like Dynasty, only about a group of models who live in a Manhattan skyscraper — Zucker instructed his development team to buy the pitch and hire a writer, even though he never intended to put it on TV. (Even before there was a script, Trump had a casting demand: They had to hire real models, not actresses.)
The Tower is different from that other show the president once pitched called Trump Town Girls, which was a reality show that pitted models against real-estate brokers to see who could have the most success in the real-estate business. We’re sensing a trend.