Real estate tycoon and "Apprentice" host Donald Trump insists he's still mulling a 2016 presidential run – dispelling speculation he'd dumped the prospect in light of NBC's interest in another cycle of his popular reality show.
"NBC very much wants a new season," Trump said on Sean Hannity's Fox News show
, adding he'd told network brass, nevertheless, "I'm going to have to take my time" about a commitment.
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"I'm looking at something serious," he told Hannity.
Pressed as to how close he was, on a scale of 1-10, to making a decision on a White House bid, Trump replied: "Much more than five."
"I am greatly honored for the renewal by NBC of "Apprentice" for a 15th season," Trump told Daily Mail Online
"But, as I said on live television, I will be taking my time, meaning all options are on the table."
Trump spokesman Sam Nunberg also told the news website Trump "has no commitment to have it on. It's on at his discretion."
"He has the option but he is exploring other options," Nunberg told Daily Mail Online. "This is nothing like 2011 – that I can guarantee you. ... A lot of serious announcements are going to be made in the coming weeks."
Four years ago, Trump also considered a challenge to President Barack Obama, but it failed to materialize.
"The last time I did have a problem. ... I had a signed contract," he told Hannity.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization told the website while the NBC show has been a ratings hit, Trump is still weighing his future, with politics, real estate and other entertainment ventures all possibilities.
But Nunberg said in the coming months, politics will be a big part of Trump's schedule, with a speech set for Feb. 22 at a Citadel Republican Society event in Charleston, S.C., followed five days later by an appearance at at the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, D.C.
And on March 7, he'll be at the Iowa Agriculture Summit in Des Moines – an event attracting other GOP hopefuls as well, the website notes. Later in March, he'll be a guest in a series of speaker events hosted by former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O'Brien, Nunberg said.
Nunbeg also said Trump has commitments to appear in Iowa in mid-May, and will help Republican politicians with fundraising events in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
'[I]f he's burning jet fuel to speak in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, at this point you have to consider him at least as serious as some of the other people who we assume are actually running," an Iowa Republican political consultant told Daily Mail Online.
NBC didn't comment to the website on the status of Trump's contract.
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