The finale of the latest edition of “Celebrity Apprentice” is scheduled for 5/22/11, and NBC would like to let the program run its course. But Trump’s very public consideration of a run for the White House is starting to open up equal time concerns.
According to reports, Trump has indicated he has decided in his own mind that a run for the presidency is in his future. He previously announced that he will use the season finale of his popular reality show to announce when he will officially announce his intentions.
However, as is pointed out in a Bloomberg article, thinking about running for office is not the same as actually running – and as long as Trump has not established an official campaign apparatus or started accepting donations or gotten his name on a ballot, he is nothing more than a potential candidate and not subject to any equal time provisions.
Fox News Channel earlier released Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum from commentary jobs on grounds that they seemed to be obvious candidates. At the time, Santorum wondered by other frequently mentioned Republican contenders such as Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin were allowed to remain.
Of the latter two, Huckabee has been playing the will-he-or-won’t-he game lately. Palin has been maintaining a public presence but has not admitted to an intention to run for the White House lately.
RBR-TVBR observation: In our humble opinion, Trump should be able to make it through a few more weeks without doing anything that would make him an official candidate. Mike Huckabee has been walking that tightrope for a much longer period of time over at Fox News Channel. But the time will come for both of them, and their networks, when they have to make a decision.