Trump to CNN: Donate the Ad Windfall From Your GOP Debate

Billionaire Points to 4,000% Increase in Cost for Commercials

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Donald Trump is calling for CNN to donate its profit from the Sept. 16 Republican debate to charity, invoking the significant increase in price it is charging advertisers for a commercial in the prime-time brawl.

As Ad Age previously reported, CNN is seeking $200,000 for a 30-second spot, 40-times more than its normal rate of about $5,000 in prime time, according to media buyers. CNN is also looking to give advertisers in some extra exposure with a live stream of the debate available online for free.

Mr. Trump sent a letter to CNN President Jeff Zucker, which he also posted on his Twitter account, noting the 4,000% increase in the cost for a commercial.

"While I refuse to brag, and as you know very well, this tremendous increase in viewer interest and advertising is due 100% to 'Donald J. Trump,'" he wrote in the letter.

The first GOP debate, which aired on Fox News earlier this month, was watched by 24 million viewers, making it the most-watched cable telecast of all-time.

Mr. Trump goes on to write that NBC's "The Apprentice" was the "easiest" show to sell to advertisers on TV and "at extraordinary rates."

Mr. Trump said CNN should view the debate "as a public service and not accept the massive profits that this airing will generate," suggesting they instead go to various veterans' groups.

CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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