Republicans Rush to Finalize Convention (‘Apprentice’ Producers Are Helping)

The team is consulting with Mr. Kim, who served as Mr. Burnett’s head of business development for about a decade, earning production credits on “The Celebrity Apprentice” and “The Voice.”

Mr. Kim, whose production firm has received $54,274 in payments from the Republican Party’s convention committee, has a relatively low profile in the TV industry. Several producers who worked on “The Apprentice” said last week they had never heard of him. In 2010, he served as a judge for the Miss Universe pageant, with an official bio saying he “negotiates, packages and manages deals with brands and agencies” for Mr. Burnett’s programs.

Chuck LaBella, the other consultant, has a long relationship with Mr. Trump dating to his time as a talent wrangler on “The Apprentice”; he also worked on pageants for Miss Universe and Miss USA. He was linked to Mr. Trump’s inner circle after Michael D. Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, steered Mr. LaBella to Keith Davidson for legal work. Mr. Davidson was the Hollywood lawyer who negotiated payments on behalf of two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump.

A company owned by Mr. LaBella has received $81,603 in payments from the Republican convention committee, according to financial disclosure reports. (Republican aides declined to make Mr. Kim or Mr. LaBella available for interviews.)

For viewers at home, there is a chance that Mr. Trump’s desire for in-person events could backfire.

The Democrats’ virtual roll call, featuring YouTube-friendly dispatches from delegates in their home states and territories, won praise for its kookiness and made an internet star of a masked Rhode Island calamari chef. Republicans, in contrast, are planning an in-person roll call in Charlotte, but the event is scheduled to take place Monday morning, meaning fewer Americans will see it.

Privately, Republican aides admitted it was a mistake for the president and his campaign operatives to lower expectations for Mr. Biden’s ability to deliver his acceptance speech, which ended up being well-received, including by analysts on Fox News.

Now, aides say, they feel confident that — for the same reason — skepticism about Mr. Trump’s convention will play to their benefit this week.

Source link