“I KEEP HEARING THE PROMO, ‘YOU’RE FIRED!' ": Promotional Culture, Populist Authoritarianism, and The Apprentice

Matthew P. McAllister, Matt Cikovic, Cecilia Salomone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines synergistic, promotional news on NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC about the first season (January-April 2004) of the NBC broadcast reality television program The Apprentice. While scholars and news outlets have focused on The Apprentice as a key artifact in establishing the populist political image of then-star and later US president Donald Trump, promotional news for the program distilled this persona as well. Using a combination of concepts from The Frankfurt School, reality TV studies, the commercialization of political communication, and research on media promotion, three themes that were prominent in NBC News outlet coverage of the program are examined: prominence of/praise for Trump, his cruel authoritarianism, and his sexism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Advertising and Promotional Culture
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781000859171
ISBN (Print)9780367645106
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting

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