File - In this March 27, 2004 file photo, passersby look at a sign from Donald Trump's television show, "The Apprentice," hung on the Trump Tower in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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Week by week, year by year, 14 seasons of "The Apprentice" or "Celebrity Apprentice" served as a grand homage to all things Trump, running from 2004 to 2015 .Donald Trump the actor made Donald Trump the businessman seem pretty fabulous. Trump had been approached with reality TV proposals before, but nothing clicked until "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett came to him with the idea of a show set in the "urban jungle" of New York.People gravitated to Trump's persona as a tough, decisive and irreverent boss who offered "at least the illusion of a pathway to success," says Yale's Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, an associate dean who wrote public critiques of the show for newspapers. He got to know Trump after the businessman called to complain about the academic's harsh reviews of Trump's on-air business practices.Trump himself initially seemed almost gob-smacked by how quickly the show took off.As for the benevolent side of Trump showcased on "The Apprentice," the Washington Post reported in August that in almost every instance in which Trump pledged on the show to make a personal contribution to a charity highlighted on "Celebrity Apprentice," the donation really came from sources other than Trump.
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