The more Donald Trump sounds like a presidential candidate, the more Celebrity Apprentice—well, what exactly?
Is Citizen Trump helping his reality show in the ratings? Has Gary Busey's genius hurt the Donald in the polls? Let's take a look at the tracking:
The story begins in February, when Trump is a distant, but surprising fourth-place finisher in a survey of Republican voters. He polls at 8 percent.
On March 6, the new season of Celebrity Apprentice premieres, and averages 7.9 million viewers, down 5 percent from the previous spring.
So, it's bad for Busey and the men of Backbone that Trump is searching for President Barack Obama's birth certificate, right?
On the same day, March 13, that Trump kicks up to 10 percent in a CNN poll, Celebrity Apprentice moves up to 8.1 million viewers.
A few weeks later, on April 3, the show hits a new season high, with 8.6 million viewers. Trump's support among GOP voters, meanwhile, increases to 17 percent in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.
So, Trump is good for Trump, right?
On April 10, Trump rises 2 points in a CNN survey, but Celebrity Apprentice drops 5 percent.
Last Sunday, the show falls to a season low (7.7 million), while the could-be candidate rides high following a rousing appearance at a Tea Party rally.
So far, there's been no consistent correlation between Trump's mouth, and Trump's ratings.
Unless, that is, our review of the numbers just doesn't go back far enough.
Of course, the timing could be a coincidence. Or not.
A quick look at other TV ratings winners—and losers:
• American Idol: In the wake of the Pia Toscano shocker, Thursday's elimination episode moved ahead of Monday's Dancing With the Stars in the weekly broadcast rankings, going from third to second, with 21.9 million viewers. Let the conspiracy theories begin continue!
• The Paul Reiser Show: It premiered finished in 88th place.
• Game of Thrones: Not to nitpick the HBO show's insta-renewal, but, well, that's why we're here. As noted by New York magazine, the fantasy epic's premiere (2.2 million) drew less than half the viewers of Boardwalk Empire's last fall. Now, carry on, and enjoy.
• Charlie Sheen: Last week, CBS tried, and kinda failed, with Mike & Molly in Two and a Half Men's usual time slot. Last night, the network reinstated Sheen's old series to 9 p.m., and—voila!—nearly all of its shows were up, including M&M. Yes, even when Sheen's not trying to win, he wins.