You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Talk of ‘Trump TV’ Gains Steam but Not With LionTree Firm

As the presidential race winds down, speculation has grown about Donald Trump’s interest in leveraging the value of his political base with the launch of a digital or linear TV network.

The Financial Times reported Monday that Trump’s son-in-law, New York Observer publisher Jared Kushner, had recently reached out to investment banker Aryeh Bourkoff of the media-centric advisory firm LionTree LLC about the possibility of such a venture. A source close to the situation stressed that there was no activity on the Trump front for LionTree.

The discussion between Kushner and Bourkoff was brief and took place more than a month ago. The two men are friendly and have been involved in philanthropic and charitable endeavors together. LionTree, the source stressed, has no interest in being involved in a venture that has been dubbed “Trump TV” in speculative media reports over the past few months. LionTree has advised Kushner’s various business interests in the past but is not at present working for Kushner on any projects.

But the fact that Kushner made the inquiry at all is telling. It’s an indication that the Trump camp is looking out past Electon Day on Nov. 8 to media options to continue to reach the base of supporters amassed up during his convention-busting presidential campaign that began in June 2015.

A digital service seems the most likely route for a Trump-branded media outlet. TV industry insiders are skeptical that Trump would have much traction with the launch of a linear channel, given the upheaval in the MVPD marketplace at present.

A digital channel would have much lower startup costs. Given the Trump campaign’s ties to officials connected to the conservative Breitbart News Network website, some have wondered if Breitbart could become the spine of a Trump media venture.

LionTree declined to comment. A rep for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump in the past has denied any interest in launching a TV channel.

More TV

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

  • Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    Syfy Cancels 'Nightflyers' After One Season

    The George R.R. Martin drama “Nightflyers” has been canceled by Syfy after only one season. Based on the novella from the mastermind behind “Game of Thrones,” the show was seen as a big gamble for the NBCUniversal-owned cable network, as it represented the most expensive series it had ever developed. The network attempted to spark [...]

  • Batwoman Arrow

    The CW's 'Batwoman' Pilot Switches Directors, Adds Dougray Scott

    The CW has added veteran Scottish actor Dougray Scott to its “Batwoman” pilot as well as swapped in Marcos Siega for previous director David Nutter, Variety has learned. The pilot, which stars Ruby Rose as the eponymous caped heroine, is being helmed by DC TV head Greg Berlanti, and was penned by “Vampire Diaries” alum [...]

  • OG Review

    Review: 'O.G.' on HBO

    Jeffrey Wright, the most compelling reason to watch HBO’s new film “O.G.,” is among television’s best actors at switching between codes or manners of being. On “Westworld,” his timeline-toggling android swaps personae so delicately that his performance gains in resonance when recalled in retrospect. (Perhaps that’s why Wright has been so oddly underrated through the [...]

  • Nahnatchka Khan Writers Room

    Nahnatchka Khan Exits 20th Century Fox TV for Overall Deal at Universal

    Nahnatchka Khan has signed a four-year overall deal at Universal Television. The deal brings an end to the decade-plus Khan and her Fierce Baby Productions banner spent at 20th Century Fox Television. The move will see Khan exit from her role as showrunner on ABC comedy “Fresh Off the Boat,” which she also created. The [...]

  • David Ajala

    'Nightflyers' Star David Ajala Joins CBS Drama Pilot 'Under the Bridge'

    David Ajala has been cast in a lead role in the CBS drama pilot “Under the Bridge,” Variety has learned. In the project, when a scandal rocks the medical practice she runs with her husband and their friends, a surgeon rises to the occasion and takes the lead in trying to mend both the practice and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content