A former executive producer on Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE’s reality television series says he never imagined the billionaire would become the president-elect.
“Did we think this clown, this buffoon would the funny hair, would ever become a world leader?” Bill Pruitt asked in an email published by Vanity Fair on Wednesday. "Not once. Ever.”
Pruitt, who worked on the first two seasons of “The Apprentice,” said he regrets that the program may have inspired a favorable public perception of Trump.
“’The Apprentice’ was a scam put forth to the public in exchange for ratings,” he said. "We were ‘entertaining’ and the story about Donald Trump and his stature fell into some bizarre public record as ‘truth.’”
“We are masterful storytellers and we did our jobs well,” added Pruitt, who has worked in reality television for more than a decade. "What’s shocking to me is how quickly and decisively the world bought it.
“There’s a larger issue at hand: non-fiction or ‘reality’ television has obviously become a huge force in shaping the minds of the populace. 'The Apprentice’ contributed to that. People lapped up what the producers were putting out, and the danger became real as news directors, desperate to compete with rating, starting putting music under soft news stories.”
Pruitt, who has worked on other reality television hits such as “Deadliest Catch,” added he is troubled by how the media is imitating the genre.
“Now that the lines of fiction and reality have blurred to the horrifying extent that they have, those involved in the media must have their day of reckoning,” he said. "People are buying our crap. Make it entertaining, yes. But make it real. Give them the truth or pay the consequences."
Vanity Fair published a portion of Pruitt's email after the executive producer declined to discuss his experiences with Trump, saying, "What we all thought or heard or saw behind the scenes is pointless. He got elected and what’s done is done.”
The outlet was put in touch with Pruitt after it published reactions to Trump's election from reality-show producers earlier this month.
The magazine also slammed the Trump Grill — a steakhouse in the lobby of Trump Tower — this month in a review, prompting the president-elect to blast the magazine on Twitter.
"Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine," Trump tweeted last week.