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Reality check on 'the Donald'
Real-estate mogul may bask in 'Apprentice' success, but casino business troubles investors.
April 15, 2004: 2:12 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Donald Trump may have the final word on his hit reality TV show "The Apprentice," but financial problems in his casino business have left many investors speechless.

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A look at the success of Donald Trump's branding versus his failing business and what the show has done for him. CNNfn's J.J. Ramberg reports.

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Shares of Trump Hotels & Casinos (DJT: Research, Estimates) have lost nearly 80 percent of their value since the company went public in 1995.

Barring a bailout, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts may not be able to continue as a "going concern," auditors for Ernst & Young LLP warned in a letter to the company's board of directors.

A call to Trump Hotels & Casino was not immediately returned.

Earlier this year, Trump announced that Credit Suisse First Boston had proposed a $400 million equity investment in the company in exchange of a controlling stake.

The move will remove Trump's top job as the company's chief executive, but he will remain as chairman.

Despite all this, "the Donald," as he's called by tabloids, has achieved renewed celebrity through his popular TV show.

"The Apprentice" has been ratings gold for NBC, attracting a weekly network television audience of 20 million for the network.

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The mogul confirmed to the Los Angeles Times last week that he was making about $50,000 an episode for the current season, and reports suggested that the figure could double for the second season.

Trump has also sought to trademark his catchphrase from the show, "You're fired."

The final episode of the show was to air Thursday night on NBC.

NBC is a unit of General Electric (GE: Research, Estimates).  Top of page

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