President-elect Donald Trump is not about to be fired — or removed in any other way — from “Celebrity Apprentice.”
Trump’s spokeswoman said Thursday that he will keep a “big stake” in the “Apprentice” franchise, despite growing concern over the incoming president’s extensive interests in entertainment, real estate and other businesses. According to Forbes, Trump has a net worth of $3.7 billion.
“Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks told TheWrap, referring to the “Apprentice” franchise that premiered on NBC in January 2004. Trump is expected to retain his executive producer title and fees even though he won’t be starring in the show.
Trump starred in the spin-off “Celebrity Apprentice,” but last year NBC announced it was ending its business relationship with Trump after he made “derogatory” statements about Mexican immigrants. The new host of “Celebrity Apprentice” is Arnold Schwarzenegger. The “Apprentice” franchise is owned by MGM.
It’s unclear how NBC will square Trump’s ongoing stake in the series with its 2015 announcement that it was ending its business ties to him. Network spokespersons did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Trump’s business ties raise the possibility of conflicts of interest in his administration. He has proven a willingness to use his Twitter account to pressure companies whose moves he disagrees with, most recently expressing displeasure that Boeing’s bill for developing a new version of the White House jet, Air Force One, was too costly at $4 billion. “Cancel order!” Trump tweeted. Boeing executives, initially caught off guard by the tweet, have since indicated a willingness to address the cost issue.
Trump has said that he will place his assets in a blind trust managed by his adult children, but the details of that arrangement remain scarce.