US & Canada

From The Apprentice to politics: it's not just Trump

Donald Trump posing as host of The Apprentice Image copyright Slaven Vlasic
Image caption Donald Trump hosted The Apprentice from 2004 until 2015, when he decided to focus on politics

US President-elect Donald Trump's latest controversy hinges on whether or not he will continue to play a role in the reality television show The Apprentice when he takes over as the country's leader.

The property tycoon helped created the show and hosted it from 2004 until 2015, when he decided to focus on his candidacy for president.

The Apprentice was so successful in the US it sparked numerous international versions, from Malaysia to Russia. Many hosts translated Mr Trump's "You're fired!" catchphrase directly, others have given it a local spin, including "You are out" in Switzerland and "I do not want to work with you" in Turkey.

And Mr Trump is not the only The Apprentice host who has made a move into politics.

Businessmen who fronted versions of the show in Brazil, Finland and the Netherlands have all tried to make the leap, with varying degrees of success.

Joao Doria: New mayor of Sao Paulo, Brazil

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Image caption Businessman Joao Doria after being elected mayor of Sao Paulo in October

Millionaire businessman Joao Doria, a former host of the Brazilian version of The Apprentice, will take charge in South America's biggest city on 1 January.

The incoming mayor of Sao Paulo hosted two series of the Brazilian version of The Apprentice from 2009 to 2010. He is also known in Brazil as a talk-show presenter.

Mr Doria won the mayoral elections in October after campaigning on his business credentials and as a political outsider.

Like Mr Trump, Mr Doria said he will not pocket the salary for his new job.

The US president-elect announced, during a television interview, that he will not be taking the annual presidential salary of $400,000 (£320,000), but would take a token $1 if required.

The incoming mayor of Sao Paulo said he will take his salary of 288,000 reais (£69,000; $85,000), but will donate it to charity. "I have enough money to live the rest of my life without working," he told a Brazilian radio station.

After the US presidential elections, Mr Doria also told local media that he did not identify with fellow Apprentice host Mr Trump, who, he said, had a different way of thinking. He also endorsed Trump's rival, Hillary Clinton. I am "totally Hillary", he said.

Harry Harkimo: Elected to Finland's parliament

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Image caption Harry Harkimo hosted The Apprentice in Finland and was later elected to parliament

Harry Harkimo, known as Hjallis, hosted Finland's take on The Apprentice in 2009 and 2010.

The businessman later campaigned as a representative of the National Coalition Party and was elected to the Finnish parliament in 2015.

Yet he was not a stranger to political circles: his two ex-wives were both members of parliament.

Mr Harkimo, who once sailed around the world representing his country, is known for his businesses in the sporting world, and as an owner of the ice-hockey team Jokerit.

He predicted a Trump win on his blog and called the "Make America great again" slogan a clever move. But he also made it very clear that he was not a fan of the man himself, calling him a "cartoon character".

The Finnish version of The Apprentice is called Diili, a slang word for "deal".

Bram Moszkowicz: The disbarred Dutch lawyer

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Host Bram Moszkowicz left his wife for the winner of the series of the Dutch version of The Apprentice that he presented

Former lawyer Bram Moszkowicz, now disbarred, is so well known in the Netherlands that they rebranded The Apprentice as The New Moszkowicz, when he hosted the first Dutch version of the series in 2005.

Like Trump, Mr Moszkowicz also hoped to have a crack at leading his nation, and expressed a desire to be a candidate for prime minister in the 2017 election. He became the leader of right-wing nationalist party Voor Nederland in April 2015, but only lasted nine months, after internal disagreements over his commitment to politics.

The Dutch version of The Apprentice was devised around finding a new employee for his legal practice. The show also found him a girlfriend - he eventually left his wife for the winner, Nienke Hoogervorst.

Mr Moszkowicz lost his right to practice law in 2012 after accusations of tax evasion.

He had previously represented anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders in a hate speech trial.

Mr Moszkowicz comes from a famous family of lawyers, marred by scandal. His father, Max, was an Auschwitz survivor turned celebrity lawyer; his two brothers were also well-known lawyers who were later disbarred.

Lord Alan Sugar - UK government 'enterprise champion'

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Image caption The Apprentice's UK host, Lord Alan Sugar, has had cross words with Donald Trump online

The current host of the UK's Apprentice, Lord Alan Sugar, has been involved in politics for several years.

He was granted a life peerage to the country's House of Lords in 2009, and in the same year was appointed the government's "enterprise champion", a role he still holds today.

He was formerly one of the Labour Party's largest donors but said in 2015 that he was renouncing his membership after "losing confidence" in the party, which after the general election that year elected left-winger Jeremy Corbyn as leader.

The entrepreneur and former football chairman has hosted all 12 series of the show, and had a high-profile Twitter row with his US counterpart.

"Unlike you, I own The Apprentice. You were never successful enough," Mr Trump tweeted to Mr Sugar in 2012. "Drop to your knees, Sugar, and say thank you, Mr. Trump."

Mr Sugar replied: "@realDonaldTrump you only have 1.9m followers with 350m population in the US does that reflect your popularity?"

Four years later, the president-elect has 17m followers.

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