Is Donald Trump Hurting 'Celebrity Apprentice'?

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Donald Trump

The reality star has been drawing fire over his recent comments about President Obama.

Donald Trump isn’t afraid to speak his mind about President Obama, but is it hurting his NBC reality show Celebrity Apprentice in the ratings?

If one were to use the ratings from the most recent episode as a measuring stick, the answer would likely be no. In fact, one could argue that his public war of words with Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Robert De Niro could have been a potential factor in the ratings boost on Easter Sunday.

The episode, which lured 8.1 million viewers and a 3.0 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic according to preliminary numbers, saw a 12 percent increase in the demo compared with the previous week.

The fourth season premiere of Celebrity Apprentice, which debuted March 6 to 7.9 million and a 2.8 in the demo, is down 16 percent from last year and is the series’ lowest spring launch ever. Since the premiere, the show has consistently gone up nearly every week, dipping to 7.7 million and a 2.6 on April 17 when it aired opposite ESPN’s NBA playoffs.

NBC is claiming that so far this season Celebrity Apprentice is up 7 percent this season in the demo (3.2 vs. 3.0) and in total viewers (8.9 million vs. 7.8 million) versus the last star-studded affair last spring, which saw Bret Michaels victorious.

“I am thinking of saying on live finale of The Apprentice finale on May 22 that in a few days I will be making an announcement about my decision,” Trump told the New York Times earlier this month, even admitting that the decision is a “tough” one because Celebrity Apprentice has been performing solidly in the ratings.

Trump has been generating headlines and angering many in Hollywood with his recent "birther" comments about Obama, calling into question the president's birth certificate. In addition to De Niro, those who have spoken out against the potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination include Jerry Seinfeld, Lawrence O'Donnell and Glenn Beck.

Typically, ratings tend to dip in season before rising toward the finale. But, Celebrity Apprentice seems to have bucked that trend — at least to an extent.