Arnold Schwarzenegger, the new host of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” says that Donald Trump’s ongoing producer credit on “Celebrity Apprentice” is no big deal — and in fact is similar to his arrangement when he entered politics years ago.
“I knew that from the beginning, that he’s an executive producer on the show,” Schwarzenegger told reporters at a press event in Universal City, California, on Friday. “That was on the credit when you watched the show.
“It’s no different than when I was running for governor [of California], my credit on ‘Terminator’ still said ‘Schwarzenegger,’ and everything stayed the same. And I continued getting the royalties and all that stuff,” he added.
“I think it was a contract that he had,” Schwarzenegger said of Trump. “It’s great that he was part of it.”
Schwarzenegger is taking over as host of “Celebrity Apprentice” from Trump, who parted ways with NBC shortly after he began his ultimately-successful presidential bid in 2015. The new season will premiere Jan. 2.
Trump’s ongoing ties to the show — he will retain his executive producer credit and fees — have raised questions about a possible conflict of interest, amid widespread concern over the president-elect’s overall business holdings.
Schwarzenegger turned aside a question about what he might do if President Trump called him up, in his role as executive producer, to discuss the show.
“I don’t get into hypotheticals of, ‘What if Trump calls?,” he said. “I don’t occupy my thoughts with those kind of things.”
But the former governor made it clear that he wants to put his own imprint on the show.
“It was big shoes to fill,” he said of Trump’s role. “When you have something that’s been going on for 15 seasons, you have a big show.
“So now I am the new host, I am the new boss, and I hope that I can match up to what he has done,” he added. “In fact, I want my ratings to be a little higher than his were. But don’t tell him that.”