Trump Wants His MTV

With The Apprentice's return to NBC still an open question, Donald Trump and MTV are teaming up for a new reality series focusing on the everyday lives of the Donald's beauty pageant winners.

By Josh Grossberg Jun 20, 2007 10:37 PMTags

While Rosie O'Donnell pines for The Price Is Right gig, her nemesis is lining up some more TV work of his own.

Donald Trump and MTV are teaming up for a new reality series focusing on the everyday lives of the Donald's beauty pageant winners.

The new half-hour show will be titled Pageant Place and, according to Variety, will feature Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA sharing a swanky Manhattan apartment while performing their various duties—promotional appearances, modeling, charity events, international trips—during their yearlong reign.

The series will feature former Miss USA Tara Conner, who was nearly dethroned last year before entering rehab for alcohol and drugs.

While Trump could have stripped the Kentucky native of her tiara due to her party-hearty ways (and the resultant bad PR), he gave her a second chance and sent her to treatment. The decision drew condemnation from Rosie O'Donnell, who took to The View airwaves and criticized him for using Conner's scandal to generate publicity for the Miss USA pageant, thus sparking an ugly feud.

Conner's role on Pageant Place will reportedly be den mother to the beauty queens, helping them adjust to their Trump Place digs and new lifestyle.

Trump, who co-owns the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA contests with NBC, used the announcement of his new program to get in yet another dig at his mortal enemy. 

"We'd been thinking about everything that happens backstage and how women like Tara captured the imagination of so many of us, including a slob named Rosie O'Donnell, who didn't like that I gave Tara a second chance," Trump told Variety in his typical low-key fashion. "And we thought, wouldn't it be great if we let the cameras roll?"

MTV, which has been looking to strengthen its female teen demo, has ordered eight episodes of Pageant Place, but that number could easily be extended if the series performs as expected.

The first season will feature the reigning Misses Riyo Mori (Universe), Rachel Smith (USA) and Katie Blair (Teen USA). The inclusion of the underage Blair may provide a jolt of drama, since she and Conner were reportedly spotted kissing and dirty dancing while clubbing together.

Because the three pageants are staggered, a new winner will rotate in every four months. Blair will be the first to, with the new Miss Teen USA taking her place in the apartment.

Producers stressed that Pageant Place won't be like The Apprentice—i.e., don't expect Trump to appear and utter "you're fired" each time one of his charges gets into trouble. Instead, show runners stress that the show doesn't need any contrived scenarios.

"We won't have any competitions or eliminations," Andy Litinsky, president of Trump Productions, told Variety.  "We don't need any of that because there's already so much here. It's all real."

Pageant Place will be executive produced by Trump through his Trump Productions banner, along with Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart and Evolution Entertainment's Doug Ross. MTV acquired the show from sister network VH1.

While he waits to see if NBC will bring back his ratings-starved Apprentice, Trump has been expanding his TV portfolio. Aside from Pageant Place, he's developing a reality-competition show for Fox called Lady or a Tramp, in which party girls will be sent through a of charm school boot camp. While filming hasn't yet begun, the network is eyeing Lady as a possible midseason arrival.

In other Trump news, the real estate magnate is facing backlash from some neighbors over hundreds of trees planted on his Trump National Golf Club in Southern California.

Locals are peeved about 800-plus ficus trees that Trump planted without permission on the course, the same place where he erected an out-of-code 70-foot flagpole.

Trump says the trees "look beautiful and everyone loves them." However, a local homeowners association says the trees block ocean views and were planted without permission.

The Rancho Palos Verdes city council has given Trump until mid-July to remove the trees or else officials won't allow him to keep his out-sized flagpole.