Update: Of the figures cited in the New York Post’s story, NBC said in a statement that they are not in the realm of reality:
While it is our policy to keep financial information strictly confidential, neither the production costs of the show nor what Mr. Trump makes personally is in the realm of reality. Donald Trump and The Apprentice franchise remain a key part of the NBC primetime lineup and we are looking forward to another compelling cycle next season.
Those who thought Donald Trump’s chatter about running for president was merely a ploy to extort more money out of NBC for Celebrity Apprentice may have their “toldja!” moment. According do the New York Post, NBC is ponying up $160 million to Mark Burnett productions and Donald Trump for two more years of Celebrity Apprentice. According to the story, Trump will personally pocket $65 million per year, a sizable boost over his current contract.
While the amounts seem staggering if you consider about 25 two-hour episodes per season, that’s roughly 100 hours of programming for $160 million or a cost to NBC of about $1.6 million per hour. That seems on the high side for reality program that doesn’t rate anywhere near as well as American Idol (or even The Voice), but even at that level it’s still considerably cheaper than most scripted programming. On the other hand there isn’t really much revenue potential for repeats/syndication/DVDs, etc.