Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Lousy ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ Ratings: What Went Wrong

Monday was not Arnold Schwarzenegger’s night, nor NBC’s

We know by now that Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t exactly terminate his “Celebrity Apprentice” competition last night in Nielsen’s primetime TV ratings, but why did the refurbished franchise fare as poorly as it did?

After all, the previous winter cycle premiere starring Donald Trump in January 2015 earned a solid 2.4 rating in the key 18-49 demographic and 6.8 million total viewers. Those were far more respectable than Monday’s 1.3 and 4.9 million viewers. So, what happened?

Well, for starters, two years have passed. In case you’ve been asleep this whole time, somehow Trump has gone from reality competition host to the frigging PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. That means those who regularly tuned in for the “You’re Fired” guy maybe weren’t as interested as the “Get to the chopper!” dude.

Plus, Trump’s still an executive producer on the show, which could have also turned off some viewers less enthused about Trump since his full-time shift into politics.

It’s also worth pointing out that the 2015 version actually premiered on a Sunday evening, when there was a greater potential audience and less competition. The next night’s regular Monday time slot premiere dipped to a 2.0 and had 6.5 million viewers overall.

So what was the big competition last night? Well, Fox aired a modestly rated “MasterChef Celebrity Showdown” special, which could have fragmented the reality audience a bit. Meanwhile, ABC’s 2017 season premiere of “The Bachelor” was broadcast’s biggest demo bully last night, pulling in a 2.1 and 6.6 million viewers.

Another challenge came from ESPN’s coverage of the Rose Bowl, which turned out to be an instant classic. USC’s tight college football victory over Penn State put up the most points scored in the bowl game’s storied history.

But wait, there’s more!  That 2015 start to “The Bachelor” took place on January 4 and Jan. 5. Last night’s Jan. 2 kickoff to the new era suffered a bit by being closer to the New Year’s holiday.

Finally, the recent dropping of Hearst stations from DirecTV meant some NBC affiliates were not available to DirecTV subscribers.

OK, we’re fresh out of excuses for NBC. Maybe it just wasn’t very good. We’ll see how many viewers “Celebrity Apprentice” retains next Monday at 8 p.m. on NBC.