Welcome back, Mr. Trump. It's your fourth season hosting the hit reality show, The Apprentice. Well, sort of. We can't really call this a "reality" show, can we? It's more like extreme business. Picture the X-Games with pinstriped blue suits, a gaudy suite, and a leather-clad boardroom.
That's why Dayana Yochim, Rick Munarriz, and I used to share a couch gawking at you each week. We loved the drama even when it was painful to watch. Of course, we did more than pass the Milk Duds and popcorn. We wrote about the occasional business lesson, too, and our fellow Fools noticed.
But this season is different. This time you're going up against domestic diva Martha Stewart, and she's got something you don't have -- a prison record. Now that's TV! (Seriously. Did you see Martha's first interviews when she was released? Who knew lemons were so enticing?)
Look, I realize you're the top dog and first mover in The Apprentice franchise, but Martha has a following. A big following. And they've cheered their Queen of Clean on for years, rationality be damned. You, on the other hand, were confined to Saturday Night Live skits and New York's infamous tabloids before The Apprentice came along. Now you're back. Big time. The world is your oyster, Mr. Trump. I only hope that Martha doesn't blow it for you.
Think about it: We Americans are busier than ever. Sure, many of us have TiVo, but we're just not that likely to watch you both. Some will, but I'll bet most won't. What happens if Martha ends up being more popular than you? Disaster, that's what.
But you needn't worry, Mr. Trump. I'm here for you. Rick may be pawning off his best ideas to Martha, and Dayana may still be reeling from her failed shot at reality TV stardom, but I've done my homework. I've got three good picks that should work for your portfolio no matter what happens this season. Let's start by playing a game.
No, really, I mean it. Hasbro (NYSE: HAS ) is the distributor for TRUMP The Game and the highly rated board game modeled after The Apprentice. That's not all, of course. Hasbro sells Battleship, Monopoly, Pokemon, Disney toys, and, of course, Star Wars figures, including the wildly popular Darth Tater. (Seriously, if that's not genius, what is?)
David Gardner first picked Hasbro for Motley Fool Stock Advisor in May of 2003 because the company was in the midst of a turnaround after having taken on excessive debt in order to fund an ill-fated growth strategy. He hasn't sold this market beater because management's approach is still working. Indeed, Hasbro is growing both revenue and earnings faster than rival and Motley Fool Inside Value pick Mattel (NYSE:MAT), yet its stock is still cheaper in terms of book value and price-to-free cash flow. And it pays a healthy 1.70% dividend yield. Yep, there's still big money in playtime, Mr. Trump.
I've noticed in past episodes that you relish having powerful music accompany your morning encounters with your candidates, not unlike Russell Crowe's entry to the Coliseum in the 2000 hit movie Gladiator. So why not buy part of the franchise? Ridley Scott's classic film was distributed by DreamWorks, the privately held sister company to DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA ) , the studio that also produced the animated hits Shrek, Shrek 2, and Madagascar. And those three films have brought in more than $1.9 billion in global box office receipts, according to film tracker Box Office Mojo. More impressive is that Shrek 2 actually tallied close to $60 million more than Finding Nemo, top hit of rival and Stock Advisor selection Pixar (Nasdaq: PIXR ) .
Still not interested? Well, consider that negative press has battered the stock since its IPO, and today it trades for not even 11 times free cash flow. Pixar, on the other hand, trades for more than 50 times FCF. Even you, with your penchant for buying premium real estate on the cheap, must be able to appreciate that kind of deal.
We've all come to know your beautiful wife, Melania. She's at times been instrumental in the show, like in season two when she greeted team Mosaic with their reward of $50,000 in baubles from Graff Jewelers. That's a wonderfully generous gesture, Mr. Trump, but may I suggest next time you give out gift certificates to Blue Nile (Nasdaq: NILE ) ? You'll save money, and your candidates will feel just as rewarded.
And while you're at it, why not add the discount online jeweler to your portfolio? It's in ours. David made Blue Nile one of his original picks for Motley Fool Rule Breakers a year ago, and it's one of the brand leaders in a very high-growth industry. Indeed, estimates say online sales of jewelry and luxury goods will grow by 28% this year to $3.2 billion. Not surprisingly, the company has outperformed, doubling its profit in the second quarter and trouncing Street estimates, leading to higher guidance for the full year. And that has well-regarded institutional managers such as Baron Capital jumping on the bandwagon. What about you, Mr. Trump? Won't you join the party?
Well, that's it. Three stocks that ought to help you outdo the market over the next three to five years. I considered many others, of course, including the Trump Entertainment casino empire and General Electric (NYSE: GE ) , parent of your home network, NBC. But there's just too much risk involved with both.
Still, you can take heart, Mr. Trump. Each of these stocks was handpicked by our best analysts, much like tonight's candidates for season four of The Apprentice. Will that be enough to keep you atop the ratings? It better be, because NBC needs the help. And so do you, with word now coming that season one winner Bill Rancic will leave The Trump Organization after his current contract expires. It's a tough spot to be in, to be sure. But, hey, at least your portfolio will be OK, right?
Hasbro and Pixar are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Mattel is an Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Blue Nile is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick.
Competition can be good for your portfolio. Each month, David and Tom Gardner battle for stock supremacy on behalf of subscribers toMotley Fool Stock Advisor. Each is beating the market by more than 30% since inception. Get in on the action by taking a risk-free trial today.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers wonders why The Donald stopped using the cobra in firing Apprentice hopefuls. Tim didn't own stock in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what's in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile here. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.