Exploring the Effects of Viewer Enjoyment of The Apprentice on Perceptions and Voting Intentions for President Trump


Shu-Yueh Lee、Sara Steffes Hansen


reality shows, enjoyment, disposition theory, perceived realism, media effects


This research explores how viewer enjoyment of The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice as entertainment media impacted attitudes toward Donald Trump and voting intentions in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Data from an online survey with 537 responses including viewers and non-viewers of the shows were collected. The results showed no differences between viewer and non-viewer perceptions of Trump’s charismatic leadership and their voting intentions for him. However, for viewers, a path analysis indicated that enjoyment of the shows significantly affected positive perceptions of Trump’s charismatic leadership, which in turn influenced voting intention. Affective dispositions and perceived meaningfulness in watching the shows significantly contributed to enjoyment. Mere exposure and perceived realism were not of impact. Implications for media entertainment are discussed.