- Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking over the firing (or is it terminating now?) on “Celebrity Apprentice.”
The former California governor and movie star will replace Donald Trump when the reality show returns in the 2016-2017 season, according to an NBC press release on Monday.
“I have always been a huge fan of ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ and the way it showcases the challenges and triumphs of business and teamwork,” said Schwarzenegger in a statement. “I am thrilled to bring my experience to the boardroom and to continue to raise millions for charity. Let’s get started!”
“We are thrilled to be opening a powerful new chapter in the story of the ‘Apprentice’ franchise,” said NBC Entertainment’s Alternative and Late Night Programming president, Paul Telegdy.
He continued, “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!”
Schwarzenegger is best known as the star of the “Terminator” movie franchise, which has grossed billions of dollars in worldwide box office. According to IMDB, he has starred in dozens of other films, including “Predator,” “Total Recall,” “Conan the Barbarian,” and “Kindergarten Cop.”
In October 2003, Schwarzenegger was elected governor in a recall of Governor Gray Davis and was then re-elected for a second time in 2006.
- IMDB / NBC Universal
While the media and NBC have reported that Trump was fired from “Celebrity Apprentice” for making controversial statements about Mexican immigrants, the top-ranked republican presidential candidate has argued that he left the show to run for office.
“Celebrity Apprentice” executive producer Mark Burnett seems to back Trump in a statement on Monday.
“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 Burnett. “Governor Schwarzenegger will use his vast and highly successful business, political and media experience to drive this hit franchise to new heights.”
NBC had renewed “Celebrity Apprentice” in Februaryfor an eighth season, a 15th season if you count the entire “Apprentice” run. Last season, in which on-air personality Leeza Gibbons triumphed, “Celebrity Apprentice” averaged 7.6 million viewers– its best run since 2012.
Using a replacement isn’t the ideal scenario, as the only other time “The Apprentice” was hosted by someone other than Trump, 2005’s “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” it premiered to just 7.1 million viewers or half of Trump’s “Apprentice” viewership at the time.
If Schwarzenegger chooses to use Trump’s infamous “You’re fired” dismissal from “Celebrity Apprentice,” it wouldn’t be the first time he has used the phrase on screen.
Watch this scene from 1994’s “True Lies”: