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NOTHING BUT VIEWERS

Donald Trump’s staying power is bringing big money to network television

Reuters/Jim Young
Trump’s standing is drawing a slew of advertisers to network TV.
  • Ashley Rodriguez
By Ashley Rodriguez

Reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

Donald Trump is already making America great again—for TV broadcasters.

The brash businessman’s braggadocio and public squabbling with other candidates in the US presidential election have drawn a healthy flow of viewers and advertising dollars to network television at time of uncertainty for the media industry. And at least one network chief executive has no intention of turning his nose up at that.

“It’s a terrible thing to say, but bring it on, Donald, go ahead, keep going,” CBS chief Leslie Moonves told investors at a Morgan Stanley conference on Monday (Feb. 29), first reported by The Intercept. “For us, economically, Donald’s place in this election is a good thing.”

As Moonves’ remarks suggest, he is not a Trump endorser. But the longer Trump stays in the running and makes a spectacle of the race (which he’s done a spectacular job of so far), the better it is for CBS and the other networks.

“Who would have expected this circus to come to town?” Moonves said, referring to election. “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”

The network is expecting a record year for political advertising, and a “huge lift” in ad dollars as the race heats up even more in the second half of the year, according to a February conference call.

“The money’s rolling in, this is fun,’ Moonves added. The Republican debate CBS held in February, which attracted more than 13 million people on a Saturday night, was one of the most-watched debates so far this year.

Trump personally isn’t putting a lot of money towards advertising: His campaign spent the least out of all the candidates still in the running, except for Ben Carson. But his rivals are certainly investing a lot into trying to tear him down—apparently to no avail.

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