Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Hoping to cash in on the fame of a rival network star, ABC has approved plans for a television movie about New York real estate tycoon Donald Trump, who hosts NBC's hit reality show "The Apprentice."
Now all ABC needs is an actor with a lot of attitude and a loud voice. Combed-over hair would be a plus.
No air date has been set for the as-yet untitled film, but casting will start immediately, and the movie could begin shooting as early as next month, ABC executives said on Wednesday.
Although celebrity biographies can be commonplace subjects on prime-time TV, it is rare for one network to enlist the star power of a competitor's existing talent roster in a bid to boost its own ratings.
But Quinn Taylor, senior vice president for movies and mini series at ABC, said Trump's status as a pop culture icon transcends his TV role as corporate mentor on "The Apprentice."
"This is a man who continually invented and reinvented himself," Taylor told Reuters "He's terribly driven -- obviously has a need and desire to succeed, and the wherewithal and chutzpah to do it, primarily on his terms."
He said the role could end up being filled with a name performer or a newcomer, adding, "a comb-over is not a prerequisite. That's the beauty of a good wig."
Trump himself is not cooperating with the project. Instead, ABC has acquired rights to Gwenda Blair's 2001 book, "The Trumps: Three Generations That Built an Empire," which will serve as source material for the movie.
ABC said the film will cover the past 25 years of Trump's roller-coaster business career and personal life, which has long been fodder for tabloid headlines chronicling his casino deals and relationships with supermodels. But the network said the project would steer away from details about his latest incarnation as a TV star.
There was no immediate comment from either NBC or the Trump Organization.


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