Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first run as host of the “New Celebrity Apprentice” is likely to be his last — and whoever famously said “the show must go on” almost certainly wasn’t talking about this one.
The post-Donald Trump era of NBC’s job interview competition was pretty much a dog from Day 1 in terms of Nielsen numbers versus expectations. By Day 8 — a.k.a. Week 2 — it was a dog with fleas, to steal a phrase from Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) in “Wall Street.” The revived version’s TV ratings would continue to get worse from there, a trend that lasted all the way to Monday’s trimmed season finale, which barely avoided setting new all-time series lows.
In other words, based on eyeballs and Twitter talk, the only “Celebrity Apprentice” footage anyone wanted to watch this year was the cutting room floor stuff from locked-away tapes rumored to include racist and vulgar statements made by the then-host and current leader of the free world. Action star or not, his less-polarizing replacement wasn’t nearly as exciting on film.
Long story short, Arnold almost certainly won’t (“Terminator” voice) “be back” — and neither will the franchise.
After all, why would NBC keep this broken down train a-rolling? Bob Greenblatt would have to be quite a glutton for punishment to even consider another run, especially with the beating his group took over being in business with Trump.
Among all the negative noise surrounding the program, which still counts Trump among its executive producers, was NBC and creator Mark Burnett getting directly blamed by some for providing our 45th President of the United States with the fame to run, let alone win. And you can imagine how popular that credit — warranted or not — went over in highly liberal Hollywood.
So this rebirth, which debuted a few weeks after Trump won the election, was always going to be weird for NBC executives regardless. Then Trump got ahold of Schwarzenegger’s ratings — and a smartphone. Yeah, that’s when it got worse.
While NBC declined comment and showrunner Page Feldman did not immediately respond to TheWrap‘s questions about more potential seasons, others with inside knowledge on the series’ standing assured us they’re no more optimistic than we are.
Still, everyone agrees to never say never. After all, it’s NBC that may bring back “American Idol” after it said farewell forever — oh wait, we mean one season.
Should “The Apprentice” universe return to television, it will almost certainly do so after a much-needed breather, and likely longer than the two-year hiatus it enjoyed pre-Arnold. Since the show’s new host has proven “Expendable” based on viewership, casting could go nowhere without a better boardroom boss.
Producers would also need to shift the format, and probably make the episodes for even less money. Because if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense — and this is the show that used The O’Jay’s “For the Love of Money” in its opening credits.
Speaking of famous faces, to make the “Celebrity” version viable once more, bookers need contestants with far bigger names for any hope of the future. Don’t believe us? Matt Iseman won last night. Yeah, this reporter had to Google his name, too — and I write about TV for a living. That dude only even qualified for the NBC game show by virtue of his contract on another network game show.
As a matter of fact, perhaps the NBC should just fill the open time slot with his “American Ninja Warrior.” Or, wait! “Celebrity American Ninja Warrior.” There ya go.