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Jeff Zucker Laughs Recounting 'Apprentice' Negotiation With Donald Trump

Jeff Zucker let out a big laugh as he recounted negotiating Donald Trump's 'Apprentice' salary at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.

The former president and CEO of NBCUniversal said: "I have had a unique relationship with Donald Trump. I'm also the one who put him and The Apprentice on the air at NBC. I've known who he is and what he is for a long time."

Zucker said after 'The Apprentice's breakout first season, Trump wanted to be paid a per episode salary similar to that of television's top talent. The 'Friends' cast was earning $1 million per episode each at the time.

He said he told Trump: "'Donald, you're not going to get a million per episode,'"

Zucker said Trump surprisingly told him, "'No, I mean all six members.'"

He said all he could do was laugh at the suggestion of $6 million per-episode and instead countered with 1/10th of that with $600,000.

Trump turned him down in person but his lawyer called the next day and agreed to the amount.

"He would always claim the ratings were bigger than they were," reiterated Zucker. "I knew him as somebody who loved to brag about his ratings, loved the spotlight and knew how to draw attention to his programming."

Meanwhile, MGM, which owns the reality TV series, says it can't release any unaired footage from taping despite demands due to confidentiality agreements.

An 'Apprentice' producer had hinted last week that the Trump's lewd comments on the leaked 'Access Hollywood' tape paled compared to everything the Republican candidate said about the female contestants on set of the NBC show.

October 17, 2016 |

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