Arnold Schwarzenegger is saying hasta la vista, baby, to “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
The action film star and former governor of California announced on Friday that he will not return for another season of NBC’s reality-TV competition. Schwarzenegger, 69, who replaced Donald Trump as host in January for the show’s 15th season, said he found out after signing on that the current president was still an executive producer of the show. In a statement issued by Schwarzenegger, he said: “I loved every second of working with NBC and [creator-producer] Mark Burnett. Everyone — from the celebrities to the crew to the marketing department — was a straight 10, and I would absolutely work with all of them again on a show that doesn’t have this baggage.”
The latest season of “The Celebrity Apprentice,” which ended last month, was the show’s weakest in terms of ratings, averaging about 4.9 million viewers each week. Schwarzenegger said in an interview with entertainment site empireonline.com that Trump’s affiliation hurt the show.
“When people found out that Trump was still involved as executive producer and was still receiving money from the show, then half the people [started] boycotting it,” Schwarzenegger said.
After the season premiere’s lackluster ratings, Trump took to Twitter to take a dig at his replacement. “Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT,” he tweeted.
Schwarzenegger responded: “There’s nothing more important than the people’s work. . . . I wish you the best of luck and I hope you’ll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.” Schwarzenegger, who is a Republican, did not endorse Trump and said during last fall’s campaign that he would not vote for him.
NBC has not made any decisions about whether “The Celebrity Apprentice” will continue with a new host.