Donald Trump has been replaced at the helm of NBC’s hit reality TV show “Celebrity Apprentice” by another star-turned-Republican politician – Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The former California governor, who most recently appeared on the big screen in the summer action film “Terminator: Genisys,” will be following Trump’s 7-year reign on the show, which according to NBC raised more than $15 million for charitable causes.
“We are thrilled to be opening a powerful new chapter in the story of the ‘Apprentice’ franchise,” said Paul Telegdy, President of NBC Entertainment’s Alternative and Late Night Programming, in a press release. “Arnold Schwarzenegger is the epitome of a global brand in entertainment and business, and his accomplishments in the political arena speak for themselves. It was Arnold’s personal passion for the format that Mark Burnett and Donald Trump built over the last decade, as well as his fresh take on how to take it to new heights for today’s audiences, that made him the man to hire. ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ … will be back!”
Trump broke ties with NBCUniversal, which is msnbc’s parent company, and left the “Apprentice” franchise behind this summer when he announced his run for the GOP nomination for president.
“After leaving the show to run for political office, Donald made it clear that he wanted ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ to be able to continue to raise millions of dollars annually for worthy causes, and now NBC and I have found an amazing new leader to do just that,” said “Apprentice” executive producer Mark Burnett on Monday. “Gov. Schwarzenegger will use his vast and highly successful business, political and media experience to drive this hit franchise to new heights.”
Trump was uncharacteristically sanguine about Schwarzenegger’s filling his shoes. On Monday he tweeted that the action movie icon would be “great & will raise lots of $ for charity.” In a separate tweet, Trump said: “To all my fans, sorry I couldn’t do The Apprentice any longer—but equal time (presidential run) prohibits me from doing so. Love!”
Following his polarizing tenure as California governor, Schwarzenegger returned to Hollywood with mixed results. Despite small roles in successful installments of Sylvester Stallone’s “Expendables” movies, the 68-year-old has failed to reach the heights of his ’90s-era box office dominance.
As for politics, Schwarzenegger has largely laid low. However, in April of last year, he did say he was “furious” with his fellow Republicans for pushing religious freedom laws to rebuke same-sex marriage.
“If the Republican Party wants the next generation of voters to listen to our ideas and solutions to real problems, we must be an inclusive and open party, not a party of divisions,” Schwarzenegger said an op-ed for The Washington Post. ”We must be the party of limited government, not the party that legislates love. We must be the party that stands for equality and against discrimination in any form.”