This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, January 5, 2003.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the second Personal Story segment tonight, a new reality series starring Donald Trump. This coming Thursday, NBC will run The Apprentice in which 16 Americans compete for a $250,000 job working for Mr. Trump. Is any amount of money worth that?
With us now is the aforementioned Donald Trump -- aforementioned, I should say -- and Mark Burnett, the brains behind Survivor and this new program.
All right, Donald. We'll start with you. Now, look, are you a ruthless mogul?
DONALD TRUMP, THE APPRENTICE: I don't think so.
O'REILLY: No, you don't think so, but do other people think so?
TRUMP: Perhaps. Perhaps.
TRUMP: But I don't think so. I think I'm a reasonable, nice person.
O'REILLY: OK. I've known you for a long time, and you're reasonable with me. But I don't know if I want to work for you. You know what I mean?
O'REILLY: You're like Steinbrenner.
TRUMP: You think? Well, that's a compliment.
O'REILLY: You know, because if you don't produce, what happens?
O'REILLY: You don't carry people, do you?
TRUMP: No, it's trouble. There's no question. And, you know, when you say I'm like George, George has done an amazing job. I said the other day when I saw George wasn't feel so well, some day, hopefully in a long distance, they're going to say the Yankees -- where's George Steinbrenner? We want him back. George is a good guy.
O'REILLY: I carry some people on The Factor. I do. I never fire anybody because I -- I feel bad if I do. I move them out. I'll put them on other places, other shows, or whatever, but I never fire anybody.
TRUMP: I'm very surprised to hear that.
O'REILLY: I know everybody thinks I'm like the meanest guy in the world, but I -- I just can't. I always feel that like there's some place for them. But you will say, hey, I gave you your shot, I paid you well, you didn't do it, out.
TRUMP: You get fired. You know, it's sort of an interesting thing. I've been walking down the street lately. I was in Palm Beach over the weekend. People are pointing at me, saying you're fired. So that seems to be the buzz word. But it's not something I enjoy doing. You know, you...
O'REILLY: Do you do it personally, or do you have a hatchet man?
TRUMP: I do it personally. I do it personally. Now, in my company, I'll sometimes do it personally. And, you know, it's interesting with firing. You can do it nicely. You can take -- I've taken months to fire certain people. Months and months. And years even. But you can do it nicely, slowly, quickly. In the end, they hate you because you fired them.
O'REILLY: Sure. And there's no question about that, and sometimes you have to if the person's, you know, really incompetent. You're hurting everybody else in the company.
TRUMP: It happens.
O'REILLY: How many chances do you give them?
TRUMP: Well, I think it depends on how badly they screwed up. If they -- if they made some terrible dumb mistakes, you -- you sort of like -- let's get rid of them, and -- this is in real life. Now, on the show, it's more obvious, and it's, in a way, perhaps as vicious or more vicious than the real world.
O'REILLY: So you're a mean guy on the show?
TRUMP: I think I'm a tough guy, but I think I'm a fair guy.
O'REILLY: Are you Simon Cowell, the American Idol guy who's denigrating these people and...
TRUMP: I think it's a much different world. I mean we're dealing with the world of business. You know, we're...
O'REILLY: No, but do you do it like he does it? Do you let them have it?
TRUMP: Well, at -- I get nasty. There are a couple of instances where the people were really bad. They just...
O'REILLY: And you really lay them out, huh?
TRUMP: I lay them out. I lay them out pretty good.
O'REILLY: Because that's what Americans want to see, don't they? Don't they, Mr. Burnett? They want to see Trump blast them. Why? Why? What is it about that?
MARK BURNETT, THE APPRENTICE, HOST: I think it's really like -- people like watching a train wreck at times. You know, people like rubber-necking on the freeway.
But in this show -- we've all applied for a job interview, and -- after a 13-week job interview, Bill, and we've all been fired at some time. At least I have. Maybe you haven't. I have. And we can relate to it.
And when you screw up, Trump's going to get you and you're going to face Trump in that boardroom.
O'REILLY: So here -- this nice Donald Trump -- this guy who -- he does nice things. I've known Trump for a long time. He does nice things. And you don't know about it because he doesn't put it in the paper.
But you've got him in the Simon Cowell slot. You've got him in the -- OK, now this guy's going to really get it.
BURNETT: There's a big difference, though. That's denigration. This is affirmation, and, if you do mess up, you're fired.
BURNETT: But there's...
O'REILLY: No second chances?
BURNETT: There's no second chances.
BURNETT: But Donald Trump doesn't fire what we always thought would be the obvious one. Someone appears like they've done badly, but he sees something in that person that others don't see. That's what makes Donald Trump a billionaire. He's hired great people and kept great people.
O'REILLY: All right. So now you're saying that it's not always the obvious one that gets fire?
TRUMP: That's true.
O'REILLY: Are you going to fire the good-looking babes? I mean come on. You know, you're...
TRUMP: Well, I guess...
O'REILLY: ... a single guy now, right?
TRUMP: Right. Most people think that -- well, I have a great girlfriend, but most people think that I'm going to, you know, be stuck with about four supermodels with brains.
O'REILLY: Yes, that's what I would think.
TRUMP: OK. Yes, I know. And we'll find out how that all happens, but, you know, the interesting thing -- 215,000 people applied for the job, which is...
TRUMP: ... I guess in the history of television...
O'REILLY: Sure. Everybody wants to be on the show, but you can't -- you can't sit there and tell me you're not tougher on men than you are on women?
TRUMP: I think it's equal. I don't...
O'REILLY: Oh, come on!
TRUMP: No, I think it's equal. I -- honestly, Bill, I...
O'REILLY: You don't give good-looking women a little more slack hoping they come around?
TRUMP: No. Well, maybe I enjoy looking at them more, but I think I'm equally tough. I don't think...
O'REILLY: So you take six months to fire the good-looking one...
TRUMP: Maybe a year.
O'REILLY: ... but me, I'm out the door in about 30 seconds.
TRUMP: Maybe even less. And maybe I'd take years...
O'REILLY: All right. Maybe even less.
You have been, Mr. Burnett, the most successful reality guy. In fact, you have ruined television.
O'REILLY: Running in the...
BURNETT: Bill, I...
O'REILLY: The actors hate you. The actors hate you! I mean you know that. They're lining up outside. Give me that Burnett guy.
What's the psychology? You must have -- look, I have a psychology here on THE FACTOR. I know why it works, all right. You bring in an eye. You convince Trump, all right, to break away from making billions of dollars every year to give his time to you. What's the psychology? How do you know this is going to work?
BURNETT: There's a number of factors. The Trump factor is a huge factor, Bill O'Reilly.
O'REILLY: Yes, he's a star. Fine.
BURNETT: It's Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, inside Trump's world and seeing the inside world of a genuine mogul, the last big mogul. And the casting on the show was very, very good. These people never applied for another reality show, and they're all A-type plus plus. They all want to win.
O'REILLY: All right. How many episodes before the person gets the $250,000 job?
BURNETT: It's 15 hours of television.
O'REILLY: Fifteen. All right. So you're going whittle them down one a week, throw them off the building, instead of the island. Are you going to actually throw them off one of your buildings there, Donald?
TRUMP: Well, I think...
TRUMP: Well, I think some of the firings are pretty violent, wouldn't you say?
O'REILLY: Pretty violent?
TRUMP: Pretty -- pretty tough, yes.
O'REILLY: What do you do, mess up their hair?
TRUMP: No, no, no. That would be violence if I messed up my hair. But pretty violent. And others are standard but tough.
O'REILLY: Escorted from the building? You have the big security guys?
TRUMP: No, we had some problems. I mean, you know, these kids really want the job. I mean they camped out...
O'REILLY: And they didn't want to get fired, and they said I'm not leaving the building.
TRUMP: Well, they camped out in front of Trump Tower -- for days, in some cases.
TRUMP: When they got picked and, all of a sudden, they get fired, they weren't so thrilled. I mean they weren't happy about it.
O'REILLY: What are you doing this for? You've got -- you're worth $2-1/2 billion. You don't need this. Why are you doing this?
TRUMP: Is that all? I thought it was more than that. I am having fun, number one.
O'REILLY: OK. You have fun.
TRUMP: Number two, there's an education -- I do. I have fun doing it.
TRUMP: You know, Mark told me -- he sort of misrepresented a little bit. He said two or three hours a week, that would be it, and it turned out to be a little bit more than that. I'm having fun. It's a huge educational factor, and I said from day one...
O'REILLY: Whoa, whoa, whoa. What do you mean educational factor?
TRUMP: People are going to learn about business. They're going to learn about the...
O'REILLY: So you care whether they...
TRUMP: Yes, I think it's cool. I think it's good. That's what I do. Like you do what you do. I mean this is what I do. And they're going to learn about business.
They're going to learn about the jungle of New York. I said from day on that New York City is the toughest jungle. I've watched your jungles all over the place...
O'REILLY: Yes, it is.
TRUMP: .. wherever they are.
O'REILLY: There's no question about that.
TRUMP: This is the toughest jungle of them all, and we show that.
O'REILLY: All right. So this is just basically recreation for you?
TRUMP: I have fun doing it.
O'REILLY: Yes, this is like...
TRUMP: I do.
O'REILLY: Instead of playing the 85th round of golf a week, you're doing this.
TRUMP: Well, I -- you know, I do this for...
O'REILLY: Right. You don't need the money, do you?
TRUMP: No, I don't need the money. I...
O'REILLY: The casinos are doing OK, right?
TRUMP: Everything is doing very well.
O'REILLY: All right. Now is he going to eat a rat or anything? Are you going to -- because is -- Trump looks look he's got the good deal here. Trump is the star, all right. Trump gets to fire the people. What's the downside for -- you've got to give Trump a little jazz, no?
BURNETT: You know what? There's not really a downside for Trump.
O'REILLY: Except doing this interview? Is this it?
BURNETT: Actually no. Nobody wants to come on here. Let's face it.
O'REILLY: That's right. Nobody wants to do this.
BURNETT: The last time I was here, I was killed on here. "Survivor" guy.
TRUMP: You told me that. He really did get you?
BURNETT: I didn't want to come on here. No, not again.
O'REILLY: There's got to be -- you've got to give him a little...
TRUMP: Did I tell you -- did I tell you he's a good guy?
O'REILLY: Oh, come on.
TRUMP: He's not that good of guy, but to me he's a good guy.
O'REILLY: So what -- you've got give him a little jazz, though. You just can't let him just...
BURNETT: You know what? He does an awesome job. He's himself. What's great about the show -- you see Donald being himself. He's in the board room. He's either going to succeed or fail making money, and he cuts through the bull really fast.
O'REILLY: Yes. Well, he does cut through it. There's no question about that. All right. The show is called The Apprentice. NBC, Thursday night. And good luck to you guys. And the -- you know, the people might not like you now. Are you prepared for that?
TRUMP: I'm very prepared.
O'REILLY: But with $2-1/2 billion, you don't care.
Or they might like me less.
O'REILLY: All right. All right. Donald, thanks very much. Mr. Burnett, a pleasure as always.
BURNETT: Thank you.
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