Republican Convention Taking Cues From 'The Apprentice' and Trump's Reality Show Past

From the speaker lineup to the way he's taking the stage, there are parallels.

— -- CLEVELAND -- Years before he officially became the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump was known best by people outside New York as host of "The Apprentice."

Now he’s showing that he can bring elements of the showmanship on display in the hit reality series to political conventions.

Reality Star Power

Just as would-be authors are urged to “write what you know,” it appears that Trump’s planning team followed a similar maxim in arranging some of the speaker lineup and candidate appearances at the convention.

On the convention’s first night alone, six former reality TV stars appeared on stage to show support for Trump. They were from various franchises, including two from “The Real World” (Rep. Sean Duffy of Wisconsin and his wife Rachel, who were on separate seasons of the show), one from “Duck Dynasty” (Willie Robertson kicked off the convention Monday night) and, of course, Trump himself.

And, aside from the speech that the candidate himself will give Thursday night, the next-most anticipated speech will come from another former reality show star: his daughter Ivanka, who was a regular on "The Apprentice."

“Apprentice” alum Omarosa Manigault has also been spotted around Cleveland. She told ABC News that she is “a senior adviser to Trump for African American outreach,” and she gave a speech to the California delegation this morning.

“I was exceptional,” Manigault told ABC News.

Making An Entrance

Most nominees hold off until the final night of a convention to appear in front of the party faithful, but Trump didn’t wait. On the convention’s first night, the candidate made a Hollywood-esque entrance onto the stage -- complete with blinding lights and a blaring rendition of “We Are The Champions” -- to introduce his wife.

Although Trump returned to New York later that night, he checked in to the convention again Tuesday night after a roll call vote gave him the nomination. The videotaped message that was played inside the Quicken Loans Arena may have worked to keep him prominent in the minds of his supporters. Similarities to the Donald Sutherland character’s messages to the masses in “The Hunger Games” or to the Wizard of Oz’s addresses to the public in that film could work.

Trump is not slated to speak at the convention tonight, but there still may be some dramatic entrances.

He has landed in Ohio on board his private plane and is expected to take a helicopter to the site of a rally that his team is holding this afternoon. Even though the rally site is only about a five-minute drive from the convention arena, the helicopter arrival seems fitting.

Auditions Playing Off the Audience

Trump took the unusual step of effectively auditioning his top three vice-presidential picks in the final week leading up to his announcement of Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. As seen in various reality shows, there were teases of the other candidates -- which came in the form of Trump praising former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in various interviews.

And although Pence ended up with the 'final rose,' so to speak, the other contenders may be viewing the convention as another form of an audition.

Christie addressed the convention last night. Gingrich is slated to speak tonight. And other Trump supporters such as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama have also taken the stage in the Quicken Loans Arena. Those performances, and the responses of the crowd, could be used as makeshift auditions for Trump's cabinet.