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Encore Presentation: Interview With Donald Trump

Aired August 8, 2004 - 21:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I respect everyone at this table. I have not earned the full respect.



TRUMP: I have no choice. You're fired.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Donald Trump. He's rich. He's famous. He's powerful. And he's the hottest thing in reality TV. He's here for the hour, and we'll take your calls for Donald, an old friend. Donald Trump next on LARRY KING LIVE.

He is, according to "Forbes" magazine, the 205th richest person in the world, the 71st richest person in the United States. He's had his ups and downs. Now it's lately been nothing but up. He's an old friend, and he's host and executive producer of "The Apprentice," which airs every Thursday night on NBC, the business tycoon, real estate mogul. Later, the founder of that show will join us.

But Donald, Donald...

TRUMP: Do you believe this?

KING: Donald, Donald.

TRUMP: Can you believe what's happened?

KING: What...

TRUMP: Can you believe it?

KING: How do you -- how did this happen, by the way? How -- what happened? How did...

TRUMP: Well, "The Apprentice" has just been a phenomenon.

TRUMP: How did it come to you?

TRUMP: Mark Burnett.

KING: He just came out of the cold?

TRUMP: He's just a great guy. He's a great, brilliant guy.

KING: He produced the "Survivor."

TRUMP: He produced it, and he wanted me and he didn't want anyone else. And he came to me at the Wollman rink (ph), which I control...

KING: In Central Park.

TRUMP: ... and he said all the right things -- I read your book, "The Art of the Deal." Donald, I have to see you. I just have to see you. He actually called me Mr. Trump. He said, I have to see you. And he came up to my office, and he said, I have an idea for "The Apprentice." And this is what I want to call it and this is what it's all about, which is as you see. And it just worked out to a point which -- you saw the ratings last night. I mean...

KING: And look at this.

TRUMP: ... we were phenomenal.

KING: Look at this. In all the years Donald's been around, he's been on the cover a few times, sometimes when things have been bad. Look at this -- "Donald Trump and `The Apprentice,' TV's guilty pleasure for a nervous economy." Do you buy that, by the way? Is it a guilty pleasure?

TRUMP: I think it's a guilty pleasure and I think it's a nervous economy. And I've been on the cover of "Newsweek" before, actually for some good times, and also of "Time" and other things. But what's happened now with "The Apprentice" has been just very much of a phenomenon. I think even you were surprised, Larry.

KING: What do you base it on?

TRUMP: Well, I think it's something that people want. It's "Survivor," but it's the real survivor. It's in the jungle of New York. People can relate to the New York, and that's really what they want.

KING: You, though, are not accustomed to firing people. People stay with you a long time?

TRUMP: They do. They do. I do fire people.

KING: You have, though...


TRUMP: Oh, I enjoying firing people when I catch them with sticky fingers, stealing. When they're stealing my money, I fire them much more viciously than on the show. But generally speaking, I don't fire people.


KING: So the person you'll fire is when they've cheated on you.

TRUMP: Oh, I love to fire people when they cheat. Don't you? Have you...

KING: I've never fired anyone. I don't -- I can't...

TRUMP: You haven't found anybody in the cradle?

KING: No. But I can't -- I couldn't stand it. I don't know how you can...

TRUMP: That's never happened?

KING: I've never run an empire. No, I can't...

TRUMP: No, no. But that's never happened, where people have stolen...


TRUMP: ... from you? Not that you know of.

KING: No, I think one or two times, but...

TRUMP: It's happened to you...

KING: ... even then, I couldn't do it.

TRUMP: Larry, it's happened to you. You just don't know about it.


KING: Last night, the episode was No. 8 in the ratings, nearly 20 million viewers. All right, it's successful...

TRUMP: No, last week, you mean.

KING: Last week, right. You couldn't have...

TRUMP: It was No. 1 on the demos -- demographic...

KING: You follow this every week.

TRUMP: I do. I didn't know...

KING: All right, now...

TRUMP: ... what a demographic was.


TRUMP: You know what? I didn't know what a demographic was, and now I find out... KING: What do you...


TRUMP: ... that 18 to 49 -- I like to see it succeed. I like to think -- really, I like to see anything I do succeed. I mean, I didn't know what demographics was four weeks ago. All of a sudden, I heard we were No. 3 in demographics. Last night, we were No. 1 in demographics. And that's the important rating, as you know, the 18 to 49...

KING: That's the key.

TRUMP: And they're the people that buy things.

KING: Correct.

TRUMP: That means that I don't buy.

KING: They say...

TRUMP: I mean, does that mean that I don't buy? I thought I was a big splurger. All of a sudden, I'm not a buyer.

KING: So you're not the wanted person.

TRUMP: I'm not a wanted person.

KING: This show began with 16 young entrepreneurs, 8 men, 8 women, divided into two teams. Then you started mixing up the teams. That changed, right?

TRUMP: Right.

KING: And members of the losing team were summoned to the boardroom in a showdown with Trump. Here, let's take a look at how one got fired. Watch.


TRUMP: Nick, I don't know why you think you're such a great salesman. Your performance was terrible. Erica, you never had a strong game plan. You were frantic under pressure. And worst of all, you let your emotions dictate who came into the boardroom. Erica...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't say it, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: You're fired.


KING: How do you react to the -- quoted in "Newsweek," Jerry Sonnenfeld (ph), associate dean of Yale University School of Management -- "This show is vulgar. It's deception, trickery and sex peddling. The lesson is that leadership selection is developed in a process akin to musical chairs at a Hooters restaurant." TRUMP: Well, that's why he works at Yale instead of the Wharton School of Finance, which is a much better school.

TRUMP: Which I imagine is where you went.

TRUMP: I never heard -- I did go there, actually. It is the best business school. But it's Harvard...

KING: How do you react...


TRUMP: ... mandatory watching at Harvard, at Wharton, at all the business schools and most of the business schools...

KING: Where's he wrong?

TRUMP: ... perhaps not -- well, I don't think it's deceptive. I think it's life. I think it's real life. I mean, the city is a vicious place. It's a beautiful place. New York City is the toughest place in the world. It's also the most beautiful place. It's also the ugliest place. it's got every characteristic you can -- you know that.

KING: Correct.

TRUMP: You know it very well. But it's a tough place, and the city has eaten these kids alive. And they're geniuses, but it's just eaten them up and spit them out, and it's been tough on them. I mean, they've gone -- we have doctors. We have Harvard MBAs who are doctors simultaneously. I mean, these are brilliant kids, and they get eaten up by the city of New York. And I think that's one of the magical moments of the show, and I think that's why the show does so well.

KING: How much of the planning is you, the description of where they go, what they're going to do? The Trump ice (ph) last night, right?

TRUMP: Yes. A lot of the planning...

KING: Who decides that?

TRUMP: ... is me, but it's -- a lot of it's me and it's Mark and it's Mark's staff. And I've gotten to be very good friends with Mark. And I think Mark's coming onto the program in a little...

KING: Yes, he'll be on at the end.

TRUMP: ... while. And I like his two boys even more than I like Mark. They're adorable, just like yours I just met. But a lot of it's me and -- you know, coming up with ideas, coming up with tasks. And we all get together and we come up with some things. NBC just renewed, which is not a great, you know, thing to figure out why. They just renewed for another year. And we had a one-time shot. You know, this is a one-time shot. They thought it would go on, it would be OK, and they never expected that the show would end up at No. 1 in the demographic and be such a big hit.

KING: How did you get to be exec producer, rather than just a paid host?

TRUMP: Well, I own 50/50 with Mark. We own the company. And we went out to bid, and every network wanted it and -- because of Mark and Mark's success with "Survivor" and other things, and his genius at doing this stuff, and me, you know, for whatever reason. And they just wanted it. So all four networks wanted it. And we went with NBC. NBC produces -- I own Miss Universe and Miss USA, and NBC produces that, and they've been fantastic. Jeff Zucker is absolutely brilliant and a great guy, and Bob Wright is absolutely in a class by himself. And we just liked NBC and we went with them.

TRUMP: You've had a better time with them than CBS, huh?

TRUMP: Well, I never liked...

KING: Why were you so critical of Les Moonves and CBS?

TRUMP: You mean calling him the most overrated man in Hollywood? I like Les Moonves. I have to tell you, I do like him. And he called me, and we are very good friends. So you know...

KING: You settled.

TRUMP: Hey, look, he's done a nice job and he's a good guy.


TRUMP: But we're very -- no, he didn't drop it. He didn't drop it. He said he dropped it after I chose another network, but he didn't drop it...


TRUMP: ... which is one of the reasons I was a little bit upset with him. And I said to somebody, Wasn't that terrible, what he said? He said, Donald, supposing you took something away. What would you do? Would you do the same thing? I said, You know, come to think of it, I would have said the same thing as him. It's like when you got dropped by a beautiful woman, you never say you got dropped, you say...

KING: Oh, I dumped her.

TRUMP: ... I left her.


KING: All right, now, as the show conceived -- do you work hard at it, or is it something where you come in at the end for the firing?

TRUMP: Well, Mark said the most time that he'd need me was three hours a week.

KING: Because you're busy.

TRUMP: Hey, look, I'm the biggest developer in New York, by far. There's nobody close. I'm building buildings all over the place. I'm building a big building in Chicago, one of the largest buildings built in Chicago -- the largest building since the Sears tower. In Los Angeles now, I'm doing a big development in Palace Verdes (ph), big golf course...

KING: Oh, yes.

TRUMP: ... which will put -- hopefully, put Pebble Beach to shame. I mean, it'll be better than -- it's two miles along the Pacific Ocean, 300 acres. It's going to be amazing, with 75 -- I'm doing stuff all over the place. I don't have time for this.

KING: So three hours a week is all you give it.

TRUMP: Yes. Except it took 30 hours, OK, not 3 hours.

KING: Every week?

TRUMP: Yes. Mark totally misrepresented to me, OK.

KING: So you're working...

TRUMP: I have to talk to him.

KING: You're working hard every week.

TRUMP: Well, now we really have a system where I go into the boardroom, I rant and rave like a lunatic to these kids, and I leave and I go off and build my buildings. And then it gets good ratings, and they pay me. I mean, can you believe this?

KING: We'll be right back with -- I know you need it. We'll be right back with Donald Trump, the host, executive producer of "The Apprentice," Thursday nights on NBC -- hot, hot show. And we'll be taking calls in a little while, too. And later, we'll meet the guy who conceived the idea. Don't go away.


TRUMP: Versicore (ph) went to the boardroom, where tensions flared between Bill and the women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know he could have gotten a higher number not from (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but from a lot of other (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then why didn't you step in?

TRUMP: Katrina doesn't think you did a great job negotiating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, and she's entitled to that opinion.

TRUMP: And Tammy was questioned about her loyalty.

Why did you say we were duped? What do you think? Was she honest, or was she disloyal?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe she was disloyal.

TRUMP: Tammy, the disloyalty has been so obnoxious in this particular case that I have to say you're fired.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine dollar, nine dollar, nine dollar. All right, forget it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bowie (ph), tell him to tone it down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is attacking.

TRUMP: You're not going to believe this. The men are at that smelly Fulton Fish Market, trying to sell lemonade. It's a terrible location, and there's nobody here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a really slow town for lemonade sales.


KING: We're back with Donald Trump Donald Trump of "The Apprentice." In the next segment, we'll be -- go to your phone calls. A lot of people want to talk to Donald.

Do you think that some complaining about women use their gender to advantage in this, or is that also part of life?

TRUMP: Women? I mean, do women use sex? Absolutely not. You've never known a woman to use sex, right? On my show, I get criticized when they use sex. The rest of the world, nobody gets criticized.

You know, amazingly, these people were chosen. They're young people, and they were chosen for their brain, but they happen to be attractive. I mean, the women, some of the women, happen to be very attractive. And they have used their sexuality to win certain tasks, as we call them. And hey, that's part of life, I guess. In real life, that happens, too. I've known it. I've seen it happen. It's actually happened to me a couple of times, Larry.

KING: What's your...

TRUMP: It's happened to you many times.

KING: What's your judgment factor? What's the key to who stays, who goes?

TRUMP: Well, it's an instinct. I watch what happens. I have two very smart people, George Ross (ph) and Carolyn Capture (ph), that work for me. And they are -- they really are smart and very aware. And they go and they follow these people doing the task, and they come back and report back, and that has a big impact on me. And at the end of the whole event, I sit down in the boardroom, we discuss it, and I fire the person that I think has not done the job.

KING: But it is carefully discussed. This is not a whim.

TRUMP: Very carefully. No, no. We don't play games. This is a very serious thing. And you know, it's being imitated by so many people now. I see ESPN is having something...

KING: Yes, they're...


TRUMP: ... for an announcer...

KING: Well, that's the name of the game.

TRUMP: ... and Matt Lauer and Katie were -- yes, I guess that's happened to you, too, actually, hasn't it, when you think of it.

KING: So there's a few shows like this, right?

TRUMP: I see a couple of shows that have the same background you (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Where's Larry? What happened to Larry? But it happens, and I guess that's, you know, a form of flattery. But it really is happening a lot.

KING: What does the winner get?

TRUMP: The winner works for me on a large salary for a period of one year, and at the end of the year, if I like that person and if that person likes me, they'll stay, or they'll go out and become a billionaire or a millionaire or whatever they're going to become.

KING: An entrepreneur.

TRUMP: An entrepreneur. And actually, if the winner is the right person, probably they wouldn't want to stay beyond a year. They want to learn whatever they have to learn, and then they want to go out and do their thing and...

KING: What kind of job are you angling for the winner? Like, is...

TRUMP: It depends on who it is. Really, it depends on who it is. I mean, of the 16 people, literally all 16 I could hire and do very well with. They're really...

KING: So there are no bad -- there are no schnooks.

TRUMP: Oh, no. There's nobody bad. I mean, you take somebody like Sam -- Sam is a really smart guy. He's a character and, honestly, great television and all that, but he's a really smart guy. And you could make a lot of money with a guy like Sam.

KING: So he'd fit in a certain place, but another guy would... TRUMP: Yes, but different places. I mean, for Sam I'd do something. For somebody else -- Amy, let's say, or this one or that one -- you put them in different places.

KING: What about with CEOs not in the highest regard today, with Enron and scandals and indictments and -- do you think the show has an effect on that, people wanting to get ahead in a business where business is held low esteem?

TRUMP: I think business is held in low esteem, but I've known so many businesses that are some of the finest people you'll ever meet. And they're very tough, very smart...

KING: A few rotten apples...

TRUMP: ... businessmen.

KING: ... spoil the basket.

TRUMP: It's very bad. And it's -- you know, it's a shame. And you see what's going on in the world today, with all of the indictments of now, finally, the Enron people, and they were bad news. I mean, there's no question about it. And there was so much thievery. And those are the ones that get all the ink. It's not all of the good ones that have done a great job over many years. So it's a little bit tough. That's one of the things we were worried about with the show because this a very business-oriented show in Manhattan. And we were a little bit worried, Does this rub off, and do people say, He we don't want to watch this kind of a thing? And interestingly, they said women wouldn't watch the show at the beginning. The critics said, Well, women won't watch the show. And women are the No. 1 watcher of the show, by far.

KING: And what do you account for that?

TRUMP: Well, I don't know. They said they wouldn't watch it because of me, because, you know, I'm a person...

KING: You're macho.

TRUMP: ... that likes women, so therefore, because I like women, women aren't going to watch. And it's just turned out to be the opposite. I mean, our No. 1 viewer is women, and I think that's a very important element. You have to have...

KING: I want to ask you about...

TRUMP: ... women.

KING: ... a couple of other things before we go to calls, take a break and go to calls. Donald's show is "The Apprentice." It's every Thursday night.

The Martha Stewart trial -- the judge tossed out one serious charge today, the most serious. That was securities fraud. There are three other charges. What do you make of that? What's your overview? TRUMP: Well, I -- she's a friend of mine.

KING: Mine, too. You know her well.

TRUMP: I am devastated that Martha didn't testify! I would have said testify. Now, I might be wrong, and if she's exonerated, I'll say, OK, I'm wrong. But I think this jury...

KING: You think the public expects her to...

TRUMP: Well, not the public, the jury. Right now, it doesn't matter what the public thinks. It matters what that jury thinks.

KING: Correct, 12 people.

TRUMP: And I think that jury of 12 people is saying, like, Tell us you didn't do it. Don't -- we don't want to hear from all the secretaries and everything else, many of whom were nullified and badly nullified. You got to get up on the stand! And I know it's tough. Hey, it's tough coming on the show with you. Who the hell wants to do this in front of potentially millions of people?

KING: They're there.

TRUMP: But really. You know, you get -- you do it. It's life, and you have to do it. She has to get up on the stand and she has to say, I didn't do it. I'm innocent. But you know, when she said and her lawyer said Martha Stewart is not going to testify, the whole jury went like this, as I read, and rightfully so. She -- I wish I could have been there. I would have insisted that she testify. In all cases, no. Hey, I know Mike Tyson very well, and Mike Tyson was going to be innocent, and then he testified. It was a disaster. His testimony...

KING: You got to know your client.

TRUMP: No, no. You got to know who you're dealing with. Mike was a disaster. Mike was found guilty. The jury came out and said if he didn't testify, he would have been OK.

KING: By the way...

TRUMP: But when he testified -- but Martha should have testified!

KING: You promoted Mike in fights.

TRUMP: I know Mike very well.

KING: How do you feel about him being broke?

TRUMP: I feel -- I think it's terrible. I think it's terrible. But you know, I paid Mike a lot of money for a fight, and they never found the check. I gave him a check for a lot of money when he was really hot...


TRUMP: I handed it to him. I gave it to him. I thought it'd be a nice thing. So I handed him a check for millions of dollars. And like, about a month and a half later, my accountant came and said, Mr. Trump, that check never was cashed. They never found it. I said, That's OK.


TRUMP: Ultimately, they did find it, but...

KING: What do you make of this battle for Disney, Eisner under fire?

TRUMP: It's time for Michael Eisner to get out. It really is. I mean, he's been...

KING: Try to be direct...

TRUMP: ... there for a long time.

KING: ... with your answers, will you?

TRUMP: No, it's time for him to get out.


TRUMP: It's enough. It's enough already. It's time to get out. And that's not so bad. He's been there a long time. But you know, it's time.

KING: You mean, for everybody, it's time? Is there going to be a time when...

TRUMP: It's always time. There's going to be a time when you're going to have to get out, Larry.

KING: Is there going to be a time when Trump leaves?

TRUMP: You're not thinking...


KING: What about Trump? Is there going to be...

TRUMP: There'll be a time. There'll be a time. I mean, there's always a time. Maybe...

KING: Why is this Eisner's time?

TRUMP: People are just not happy with the job he's done, and the shareholders aren't happy and the stock price -- I mean, it's only high because somebody's trying to take over the company. But it really seems to be time for -- I like Michael. I know Michael. It's time. There's nothing wrong with that. KING: We'll be right back with Donald Trump, and we'll take your phone calls. And then later, we'll meet the man who started this whole idea, Mark Burnett. And what a success story he's been. And he'll join us later. We'll take calls for Donald Trump right after this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stay out of my face.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't say anything, though! For you to say that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) passed out falling asleep!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's trying to make me her prey. She's done it to Tammy and she's done it to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I'm attacked like that, I don't have anything else to do but to go back at her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now I'm done! You threatened me! It's over! I tried so hard today...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... to stay out of your way because of the team, not because I'm scared of you. Know that now!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being a bitch is going to be your problem. You have to live with that for the rest of your life!



TRUMP: As you both know, we have an elevator that goes up to the suite and an elevator that goes down to the street. One of you will stay and one of you will be sent home. And David, I'm going to ask to you take the down elevator. You're fired.


KING: Is that hard to do?

TRUMP: No. It's what I do.

KING: Not hard to -- it's what -- yes, but you like these people.

TRUMP: I do like them, but it's what I do, and I have to do. And you know, it was never meant to be, the word "you're fired." This was going to...

KING: No? TRUMP: I walked into the boardroom, and Mark and I discussed it, and I was going to convince them that they weren't going to be going forward in some way. And then we started running a little bit long, and I said, You're going to have to get rid of this guy fast. And all of a sudden, I said, "You're fired," and everyone went crazy. I mean...

KING: Now they're saying it on the street. It's become...

TRUMP: Oh, forget it. It's become -- They have T-shirts all over the universe. But it's been -- it's been (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

KING: You can't patent those.

TRUMP: I did, actually. I did.

KING: What do you mean? I can't have a T-shirt...

TRUMP: Mark and I...

KING: ... that says "You're fired"?

TRUMP: I'm going to try. I don't know. How do you patent the words "You're fired"?

KING: I don't know.

TRUMP: But we're going to try.

KING: Kelowna, British Columbia. Hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Hello.

CALLER: Yes. How are you, sir?

TRUMP: Good. Thank you.

CALLER: It's a pleasure to talk to a giant like yourself. I'm from Canada, as you can hear, and it's a pleasure to know a giant and...

KING: What's your question?

CALLER: Question is, when you make one decision to let one go there, to be fired, is it absolutely your decision or do you lean heavily on your partners? And secondly, the other question is, have you got anything to do or going to have anything to do with the new twin towers?

TRUMP: Well, the second question, no. It's in the hands of a man named Larry Silverstein, who's a friend of mine, who's a great developer in New York and a really good guy. And I hate the design, and I don't think Larry likes the design. It was foisted upon him. It's a 50-story building that looks like it's 120 stories. It's a skeleton. And that's the last thing we need in New York is a skeleton of -- representing the World Trade Center. I think that it is not an appropriate design. I don't like it. But Larry's a good developer. He'll get it built, I think. And it's tough. You know, it depends on the market. The market in New York is not particularly...

KING: Are you the final decision on the firing, though?

TRUMP: I'm the...

KING: You consult with the other two.

TRUMP: Absolutely. I don't really consult with anybody. I talk to people, but I'm absolutely the final decision.

KING: Where were you on 9/11?

TRUMP: I was home watching a certain show, where Jack Welch, who's a great guy, was being interviewed. And they interrupted the program to say that this had happened. It was, you know, 8:45 or so in the morning, and I was listening to Jack, who I love. I think he's a great guy. And I'm saying, What's this? And they showed a picture of the World Trade Center with this incredible flame pouring out of the side. And you know, you knew it couldn't be a boiler. That's down in the basement. You know, you're saying, What is this? What could be possibly this? And of course, as the second plane hit, which I witnessed because the building I was in was very high and looked directly at the World Trade Center, you said, Well, now you know what it is. But what a terrible, terrible period of time that was. Ever.

KING: Did you fear your own building?

TRUMP: Never, never in history has there been anything like this. Pearl Harbor was bad, but at least that was soldiers and sailors. These were innocent people.

KING: Everett, Washington. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Mr. Trump, have you considered doing a book or video tie-in to your show? Because it's very educational. And I love both of you and both of your shows. Thank you.

TRUMP: Well, thank you.

KING: Thank you.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. Yes, Mark Burnett is thinking about it and...

KING: A book?

TRUMP: A book about it. I'm doing a book, a separate book. I'm doing a book "How to Get Rich" with Random House and...

KING: Get a million-dollar advance? That's true?

TRUMP: I got -- no, much more than that, over $5 million. KING: An advance?

TRUMP: Yes, but I don't want to talk about it. You know why? Because Oprah will be angry at me. I happen to love Oprah, and I'm doing -- I'm giving Oprah the exclusive on the book. I gave her the exclusive...

KING: You mean, the first when it comes out?

TRUMP: Yes, as soon as it comes out, which is in about two weeks.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) telling us how much you got?

TRUMP: No, it's about two weeks. Yes, over $5 million advance.

KING: What's it called?

TRUMP: It's called "How to Get Rich" -- "Trump: How to Get Rich." And you know, Random House came to me, they said, This is a great time to do a book. You know, I did "The Art of the Deal," which I'm told is the biggest-selling business book ever done. And it was on "The New York Times" best-seller list for almost a year. And this is something I think that's going to do very well also.

KING: Cleveland, Ohio. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. My question is for Mr. Trump.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: When the winner is picked, it is said that that person will have a year contract with you.


CALLER: What happens if in that year's time, you find that they're not working out? Can you fire them before their year is up?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, you know what the losers get, right? They get three years.



KING: If you fire them, they get paid, right?

TRUMP: If they get fired, if I think they're bad and if they're just not doing it, I'll let them know and they still get paid.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with more calls for Donald Trump. And then in our last two segments, Mark Burnett, the executive producer, will join us. He conceived other shows. He's got more coming, as well. Don't go away.



TRUMP: I guess you have visions of something big, something glamorous, but that's not going to be it. We're bringing you back to basics. You're going to go outside and you're going to sell lemonade.


KING: Is that fun?

TRUMP: It's been fun.

KING: I mean lemonade.

TRUMP: It was a good task. I didn't agree with that task. Mark liked that one. I didn't like it as much.

Mark's reasoning was good and it really proved out to be right. The first thing we all do is sell lemonade. We're 4, 5 years old, we go in front of the house and we sell lemonade.

So, I'm at the New York Stock Exchange with all the killers on the floor screaming, Donald! Donald! And the bell is going off and we're telling these kids to go out and sell lemonade on Wall Street.

KING: Turned out great.

TRUMP: But it was good.

KING: Tenino, Washington, hello.

CALLER: Hello, thank you for taking my call. I got a couple of questions. Now, I know you can't answer anything but yes or no, but were you aware of the undercurrent with Ama Rosa and all of the other people going on?

TRUMP: Well, could you see there was a tremendous undercurrent and by the way, there still is. People don't like her. The women in particular just did not like her. And she is a smart, tough, cunning woman, but boy, you talk about an undercurrent, that is a big undercurrent.

KING: Second question?

CALLER: And my second question is, is there really Trump Ice and will it get to the west coast?

TRUMP: There is Trump Ice.

KING; Now, what is that? Water, right?

TRUMP: You can get it by calling 212-832-2000 and just order as much as you want and they send it to you.

KING; Trump Ice. TRUMP: Trump Ice. It's water. It's spring water. It's great spring water. It looks great.

KING: Legit product?

TRUMP: Oh, it's a legit product. 212-832-2000 and just order as much as you want.

KING: Albany, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Mr. Trump, I'd like to know how much of an influence Mark Burnett has on your selection as far as who gets fired, looking at who makes for better TV?

TRUMP: Well, Mark...

KING: Mark Burnett. He's interested in TV.

TRUMP: We had 215,000 people apply for the job. Now, I have to tell you, that was the first indication we got that the show was going to be a monster hit.

KING: Wanted to be apprentices.

TRUMP: More than anybody has applied in the history of television for a show, 215,000 and out of that, they took 16. Now, I have to tell you just to go into this for the new show, they actually put on an ad for television which you probably saw during the apprentice. We have over 500,000 applicants for the new show, because we're doing an "Apprentice 2."

KING: When does that start?

TRUMP: That starts shooting a couple of months. It's going to be on in the fall. And it'll be terrific.

KING: When do we know the winner, what month?

TRUMP: April 15, tax day. That's going to be live from New York City. If you'd like to do that show I'd love to give it to you. You should do it rather than me.

KING: No, you.

TRUMP: Live television for two hours choosing the winner. It's going to get big ratings. What can I tell you. They tell me that does even better than a nonlive show. Would you say that's right?

KING: Nothing's better than live.

TRUMP: You think so?

KING: Because the audience watching at home -- we're live now. Anything can happen.

TRUMP: That's true. KING: Anything can happen.

That's right, could you hit me.

TRUMP: That's right.

KING: But does he have a say, because I like the way that person looks, leave him on.

TRUMP: Mark and the staff chooses with me but I'm doing other things, chose out of the 215,000 the 16 people. Once the 16 people were in my board room, it was my decision. In all fairness to Mark, he wanted it to be my decision. He never once came to me and said, you know, this one's great for showbiz. This is great for ratings. You got to keep this one or that one. And he is a very legitimate guy, Mark. He is a great guy.

KING: Floral Park, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, and Mr. Trump. First of all, thank you for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: My question is to Mr. Trump, why did Mr. Trump invest so much time to a television show, was it for money or personal satisfaction or was it for both?

TRUMP: Well you know, it's interesting. Certainly wasn't for the money and most people tell me don't do it, because 95 percent of the shows that go on television fail. So by all standards it should have been a failure.

KING: And you don't want to be associated with failures.

TRUMP: I don't want to be associated with failures. I don't have failures. I like to have success, not failures. So, a lot of people that are with me say, don't do it because statistically it's going to fail. Well, it turned out to be that it didn't.

Now what happened is the second show is a very profitable, for Mark and myself, because of the fact that we hit so big on the first one and obviously NBC wanted to do a second one. And they're doing a second one, and it's going to be -- I can't say bigger and better.

KING: Your reason for doing it was?

TRUMP: Fun. Hey, I'm building buildings all over the place. Let's do something different. It's fun. I'm having fun doing it.

KING: By the way, before we take the next call, you considered, once, running for the presidency. TRUMP: Well, I didn't consider it long. I had a group. They did a poll and the poll came -- I did a favor for a trend friend of mine in New Hampshire. He went to the Wharton School of Finance. He said, Donald, would you come up and make a speech to a business group. I came up to New Hampshire as a favor to him. I made a speech. And everyone thought I was running for president.

KING: You didn't say I am not.

TRUMP: No I kept it going for about two weeks. But I wasn't running. I love what I'm doing.

KING: You think it will be a close election?

TRUMP: I think it's going to be very close. I think it's going to be John Kerry against Bush. I know them both. They're both good guys and I think will be a close race.

KING: What do you make of the problems that Michael Jackson's facing?

TRUMP: You know I know him very well.

KING: That's why I asked.

TRUMP: He lives in my buildings, more than one. He lives in various of my buildings. I mean, he sort of follows me around in the sense of he likes what I have.

KING: Good tenant.

TRUMP: He's been great. He's never been a problem. I hear all of the horror stories. He's never been a problem. And I would know, believe me. I ask the doormen, I ask the concierge, I ask the elevator operators. Michael Jackson has never been a problem, but it's too bad. It's very sad.

KING: Toronto, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Mr. Trump, I believe my question may have already been answered. When you're considering which contestants should be fired is your decision based strictly on that contestant's performance of their assigned task or is your also based on which contestants are more valuable to keep on the show from an entertainment perspective.

TRUMP: It has been asked but, basically it's purely on the task. But I'll go a step further, that task, it may be how they've done over the preceding weeks, that certainly enters into the equation also but has nothing to do with the entertainment value.

KING: To Washington D.C., hello.

CALLER: Hi. Donald Trump, I have a question for you. I'm here at Georgetown University. And all of us want to know if your hair is real, or it's a toupee or if it's comb-over, died amalgamation or mix of one of the above?

KING: One of the most asked questions in America. Let's talk first.

TRUMP: Come on, let's go.

KING: It is not a toupee.

TRUMP: Would you please inform the public.

KING: It is not a toupee.

Now, hold on, lean forward a little. No, it's not a toupee. It's not a comb over.

TRUMP: Don't mess it up too much.

KING: It's not a comb over.

TRUMP: It's really not that much of a comb over. I get killed in this hair. I'm getting killed...

KING: Why?

TRUMP: You know the show has gotten great reviews. I've gotten great reviews, everything gotten great reviews, except for one thing, my hair, gets bad reviews.

KING: What do you make of it?

TRUMP: It's a mess.

KING: As long as I've known you've comb it that way. Do comb it?

TRUMP: You know what I do. I take a shower, I wash it, I then comb it and set it and I spray it and it's good for the day, but I'm getting killed on my hair.

KING: Are you thinking, make news here, Donald, changing it?

TRUMP: Well, if I did I think Mark wouldn't let me because the ratings would probably go way down. Do you agree with that Mark? The ratings would go down and he'd say please go back to your old hair style.

KING: So, that's the reason? No personal desire to change it?

TRUMP: I don't care. It's not a big deal. But I don't think so. It's worked.

KING: It's different.

TRUMP: Yes. I don't feel it's even different. It's been the way I've always combed it.

KING: York, California hello.

TRUMP: It can't be good. It's certainly not my strength.

CALLER: My question, obviously, is for Donald. I think your show is great but I got to tell you, the question I have for about your family. I am amazed. First of all, thank you so much for sharing your stories with your children with us.

TRUMP: Thank you.

CALLER: And what it does for me is it shows the human side of you, and I would love to know, Donald, with all that you have and all that your children have, how did you bring them up to be so great versus the Hilton sisters?

TRUMP: Well, first of all, I know the Hilton sisters and they're good kids. I think they're getting a bum wrap. She was with this one dog named Solomon, and I'd like to represent them against him. I would like to really sue his ass off and they're such nice people. I haven't even sued him yet. I was with them the other night and they're holding for me a party for me tomorrow night at Baron Hilton's house.

KING: I'm going to go.

TRUMP: And you're going. And everybody in Hollywood is going. And they're going because of "The Apprentice," it's the craziest thing. They're fine people.

KING: She asked about raising the family.

TRUMP: And they're nice girl, the Hilton girls are nice girls. And my family is terrific. I mean, they really are. Now, they're highly educated. My family is highly educated. I'm highly educated, which until "The Apprentice" most people didn't know. They thought I was a barbarian. But I'm highly educated.

KING: Did you work at it with them? I mean, were you an attentive father?

TRUMP: I think I worked at it. I think I worked at it. I was tough. I was firm with them. I didn't give them too much money. But you know, when they walk in and their boyfriend comes over to Marolagro (ph), and that's the lobby of their, you know, let's pick up Ivanka for a date, and they walk into Marolagro (ph), it's a little bit different. But you know, she's a very well-grounded girl, and all the other kids are great.

KING: Were they always good kids? Never had a problem?

TRUMP: I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) wood -- is this wood or formica? It looks more like formica.

KING: In other words, never had drugs, never had...

TRUMP: No, I've never had a problem with my kids. KING: Scottsdale, Arizona, hello.


KING: Hi, go ahead.

CALLER: My name is Christi (ph).

KING: Hi, what's your question?

CALLER: I own a small but quite profitable cellular phone business. I have owned it for about 10 years. I have an interested buyer, but they want to put half cash down and half is an earnout or a buyout over three years, based on their sales performance. And I'm struggling with...

TRUMP: I don't like that. I don't like that deal, unless the cash they're putting down is worth more than the whole company anyway and it's just a shot in the dark to get the rest. Otherwise, I wouldn't make that kind of a deal.

KING: Baltimore, hello. Are you there?

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: Yes, hi. I wanted to say first of all, Mr. Trump, your show, besides being entertaining, it's educational.

TRUMP: It's true. Thank you.

CALLER: My question is two-fold. What actually is the amount of time that the contestants spend in New York during the show? And the second question, is what is -- if there is an age limit, and why is there an age limit on the contestants?

TRUMP: Right. They spend about three months doing the show. And again, the winner has not been picked. There have been numerous episodes that have been picked, but the winner has not been picked. That's going to be live.

KING: Age limit?

TRUMP: Because we just can't take a chance on somebody finding out, and it's more exciting.

The age limit, generally speaking, is going to be younger people, because these are people...

KING: Apprentices.

TRUMP: ... that are apprentices, but not only that; these are supposed to be people with potential. If a guy hasn't made it by the time he's 50, I know (UNINTELLIGIBLE) discriminate, OK?

KING: There are no 50-year-old apprentices.

TRUMP: But if a guy hasn't made it by the time he's 50, guess what? I don't want him to be my apprentice.

KING: We'll be back. And when we come back, we'll be joined by the guy who conceived all this, a true television genius, Mark Burnett will join us right after this.


TRUMP: Hey, Sam...


TRUMP: I hear you're in charge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am in charge, Mr. Trump. I am the coach of this team. How are you doing today?

TRUMP: Well, we're going to see, because the men are taking a big beating. Are you going to turn it around?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I already turned it around.

TRUMP: I never knew you were so short. Come here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to shake my hand?

TRUMP: I want to shake your hand.


TRUMP: Come here.


TRUMP: OK. Give me your hand. How is he doing fellow, all right?


TRUMP: Do you think they maybe made you the team leader to get rid of you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is possible.

TRUMP: Well, you know how that doesn't happen, if you win? Good luck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Have a good day.

That was one of the biggest moments of my life, shaking that man's hand.



TRUMP: What makes you think you have charisma?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I do. I think I bring a certain energy to the place.

TRUMP: More so than the other three?


TRUMP: Who do you think, Nick, did the worst job?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Erica. Specifically, a leader can never, ever look frazzled in front of the troops, and for her to behave like that at the end of the day when it is crunch time is I believe unacceptable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was fixing your mistakes.


KING: We now welcome along with Donald Trump, Mark Burnett, the co-executive producer of "The Apprentice." He's the Emmy Award winning executive producer of "Survivor." And he's got another show coming, right?

MARK BURNETT, CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE APPRENTICE": I'm working on a new show called "The Contender."

KING: With Sylvester Stallone.

BURNETT: Something we all love, right? Boxing.

KING: Boxing.


KING: And they're going to eliminate people every week by knocking them out?

BURNETT: Yeah, that's right.

KING: How did you come up with this idea?

BURNETT: "The Apprentice?" Well, you know, quite frankly, when I came to America, Larry, I was a young entrepreneur with no money, I was selling t-shirts among other things on Venice Beach, and a lawyer skated by on rollerblades -- only in California it would happen, right -- and gave me a book and said, hey, you want to be a big businessman, read this book. It was "The Art of the Deal."

KING: Just handed it to you?

BURNETT: Just handed it to me. And so I read this book, and I didn't know who Donald Trump was, and I was infatuated, read all of his other books. And just the American dream -- I said, one day, I'd love to meet this guy. And next thing you know, I'm renting from him (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and now we're partners.

KING: But you did "Survivor" first...


KING: ... you had a hit on your hands. That started where, in London, right?

BURNETT: No, no, no, actually it started in America. A lot of people think that. "Survivor" is an American developed show. Before that, "Ecochallenge" for many, many years on cable.

You know, I do things I like to do. I like adventure, and I like business, and so I'm in the business I like, and we're having a great time. We've become great buddies. We hang out.

KING: Are you going to do a show on business with Jeff Katzenberg, too?

BURNETT: No, that was a joke in an elevator that people overheard.

KING: I read it in papers.

BURNETT: Well, can you believe what you read? I was in an elevator. And I said, hey, Katzenberg, you're in season three of "The Apprentice." And he says, yeah, yeah, sure.

KING: Are you going to do "The Apprentice" in other countries?

BURNETT: Well, we've already sold, actually, as a business -- Don and I are 50/50 partners -- we've got some of the highest prices ever for television sold overseas for this show.

KING: You've got to pick a host, though, right? Like you're going to pick out a French businessman, a British businessman?

BURNETT: First of all, Larry, we insisted that they buy the American show first and air the American show, Donald Trump, and then after that, they sort of format cells, a double cell, American tapes and formats.


TRUMP: Whatever he wants to do.

KING: How he has been like to work with? Because he's used to running the show.

BURNETT: Honestly, we haven't had one argument. Right?

TRUMP: That's true.

BURNETT: Not one argument. I think we are -- I'm a mini-Trump, or I want to be a mini-Trump. You know? And we're both decision- makers, we both are gut instinct. What it has confirmed for me is that I'm doing it right. Because I don't have all the answers, I go on gut instinct, and he always tells me, if it feels right, do it, Mark.

KING: What's his genius, Donald?

TRUMP: He's a great conceptualizer. He knows what people want. He's doing the show "The Contender." I never spoke to him, I mean, literally, until this moment I never even spoke to him about "The Contender." I don't know anything about "The Contender." I read about it the other day. But he's doing a show, and it will be successful because he's doing it.

I mean, he's just a great conceptualizer. And I'll tell you something else, and I say it in a very positive way, he's an amazing salesman. I told you before, he said, Donald, you've got to do it, Mr. Trump, you've got to do it. It will take you three hours a week and maybe less. You know, 37 hours later I'm saying what the hell happened to the three hours? He's an unbelievable salesman. But beyond the salesman stuff, because, you know, salesmen are salesmen. He's a brilliant guy, a great producer and just got it.

KING: On "The Contender," are people going to box each other each week?

BURNETT: Yeah, absolutely, end of each week.

KING: Someone knocks someone -- someone defeats someone?

BURNETT: Yeah. Absolutely. There's a boxing match at the end of each episode. And I mean, one thing -- I know you love boxing, you love boxing. I did this because I feel like it needs to be cleaned up. It's a great thing.

KING: Is Stallone your exec producer?

BURNETT: Yes, Stallone is my partner, along with a cast of all executive producers, and Stallone is on camera. He loves boxing. He's not doing this for the money, Larry. He just loves boxing. It gave him something big in his life.

KING: This guy is going to go on, he's going to keep doing things.

TRUMP: He's good. He's good. He's going to go on, and I'm going to go back to building buildings, which I really look forward to.

BURNETT: Take me with you. I want to be your apprentice.

KING: You're building a building, the second tallest building in Chicago?

TRUMP: I'm building actually the largest building in the Midwest since the Sears Tower, 2.7 million square feet at the Sun-Times site on the river. It's going to be mostly apartments and hotels and it's going to be, we already sold $40 million of apartments and we haven't started building the building.

KING: Do you live in the Trump building?

TRUMP: No, I don't. I live in Los Angeles. I stay in the Trump building when I was in New York.

KING: Is it a good building?

TRUMP: You know, Larry. When you're with Trump you can only stay in Trump buildings.


KING: We'll be back with the remaining moments of Donald Trump and the co-executive producer of "The Apprentice," Mark Burnett on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.



TRUMP: I'm going to make a decision on probably during the month of February, and that will be based on whether or not I think I can win. I'm not looking to get 20 percent of the vote. If I think I can win, we may very well have a very positive decision.


KING: Donald, the almost candidate. Show's No. 1?

MARK BURNETT, CO-EXEC. PROD., "THE APPRENTICE": Actually, this week for the first time we equalled "CSI." So equal first place in the most important demo. That's amazing. To be up against CSI.

KING: Would you change his hair?

BURNETT: I would never ever change Donald Trump's hair. I've got two words to say. Samson and Delilah. One of my best stories. Don't touch the hair.

KING: Brooklyn, New York. Hello.

CALLER: Mr. Trump, I have two quick questions for you. The first is would you happen to have a job for a very sharp, savvy, nice Jewish girl but down on her luck from New York City? And the second one is whether for better or worse and with all due respect I'm wondering which is bigger your bank account or your ego? Thanks.

KING: You have a healthy ego.

TRUMP: Have you ever met anybody -- so do you, by the way. A lot of times you try to hide it. But you have a big ego. I know you very well. Have you ever met a successful person...

KING: You can hide it...

TRUMP: Have you ever met a successful person without a big ego? Not recently.

KING: They show up in different ways. There are very shy people with enormous egos. Correct. To Bowling Green. Hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Is this Bowling Green?

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Mr. Trump, we love your show. I'd like to know what person has had the most profound influence on your life?

TRUMP: Always my father. I mean I had a wonderful father, he's a builder in Brooklyn, in Queens. He built moderate income housing and he was just a great guy and I learned a lot from him and he was a great guy. He was my best friend.

KING: Last call, Burlington, New Jersey quickly. Hello.

CALLER: Thank you for my taking my call. Donald, I'm very smitten to be talking to you...

KING: What's your question, we're running out of time.

TRUMP: Let her go on. That sounds very...

CALLER: I'm sorry you had to take that insignificant question about your hair because I think you look great.

KING: You're going to run out of time, dear, with all these...

CALLER: I'd like to know how you handle your stress.

TRUMP: I try and tell myself it doesn't matter. Nothing matters. If you tell yourself it doesn't matter, like you do shows, you do this, you do that and then you have earthquakes in India where 400,000 people get killed. Honestly, it doesn't matter. That's how I handle stress.

KING: How do you handle it?

BURNETT: You know, water rolls off my back like a duck's back. Honestly, the same thing. I came from nothing.

KING: You two are made for each other.

BURNETT: We have a great time.

KING: Donald, thank you, my man. Mark. Donald Trump and Mark Burnett, the show, the incredibly successful "The Apprentice" on NBC Thursday nights. Before we go special congratulations to one of our favorites Blake Edwards, the brilliant director, producer, screenwriter who's getting a lifetime achievement Oscar Sunday night. He and his equally talented wife Julie Andrews have been great friends of this program over the years. But you want to talk about a richly deserved honor. Blake Edwards made "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "The Pink Panthers." We could stop right there and he's in the hall of fame.

But Blake Edwards also brought us classics like "Days of Wine and Roses" and "10" and "S.O.B." and "Victor and Victoria." The screenplay for that one got him his only Oscar nomination. Mazel tov, Blake. And way to go Academy, it's about time. I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow night.


KING: Stay tuned for more news around the clock on your most trusted name in news, CNN. See you tomorrow night. Good night.


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