NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump spokesman Michael Cohen confirmed the Republican presidential hopeful has purchased NBC's half of the Miss Universe Organization and settled all lawsuits against the media company.
The move, which Trump announced via Twitter on Friday morning, gives him full ownership of the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants and completes a divorce begun in June when NBC announced it was ending its business relationship with Trump, who had starred on the network as host of "The Celebrity Apprentice."
The network later said Trump would never be on "The Celebrity Apprentice" again.
Since he jumped into the presidential race, Trump has rocketed to the top of the GOP pack in the polls.
Trump's announcement came hours before he was scheduled to tape a guest appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" for airing Friday night.
NBC confirmed it has sold its rights to the Miss Universe Organization to Trump.
The had network said in June it was severing ties with Trump because of comments he made about Mexican immigrants during his presidential campaign kickoff speech. The fallout reverberated far beyond the pageant: Macy's stopped carrying a line of Trump menswear, a television company owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim ended a project with Trump and the PGA of America moved a golf tournament off a Trump-owned course.
At the time, NBC said it would no longer air the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which had been a joint venture between the company and Trump. Miss USA had aired on NBC since 2003. This year's edition had been set for July 12, but aired instead on cable's Reelz network.
Meanwhile, Univision cancelled its coverage of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which led to a $500 million lawsuit brought by Trump claiming his First Amendment rights were violated as well as claiming a breach of contract.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore