Donald Trump will retain his title as an executive producer of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice when the reality TV show returns on January 2.
“Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement to Variety Thursday.
“Additional details regarding his business interests will be shared December 15th,” Hicks added.
Trump’s return to the Emmy-nominated show he had hosted since 2004 was no longer an option following his historic presidential election victory on November 8.
Instead, earlier this year, the network announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger had been tapped to take over hosting duties. The former California governor is also an Apprentice executive producer.
Audiences tuning in this January will reportedly see Trump’s name in the credits after Burnett’s and before Schwarzenegger’s. The President-elect will be paid an undisclosed fee per-episode by MGM, which produces the top-rated program.
Sources close to the Apprentice told TMZ on Friday that Trump has had no involvement in the Schwarzenegger iteration of the show, and that his executive producer credit would essentially be a title only.
“This is a non story,” one source told the gossip outlet. “Presidents don’t cancel preexisting business deals when they get elected. They simply disengage from the decision-making process. Jimmy Carter didn’t sell his peanut farm.”
The news marks another chapter for Trump and NBC.
Last summer, NBC and its chairman, Robert Greenblatt, publicly cut ties with Trump: “I don’t think somebody who is running for President and might possibly be the next leader of the free world should be banned from activity with NBC,” Greenblatt said last August. “At the moment, we’re sort of separated.”
The network pulled the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants that had for years been a successful joint venture between NBC and Trump.
Six months later, Trump was a guest host on Saturday Night Live — earning the show its best ratings in two years.
NBC’s decision will mark the first time a sitting president is also a paid producer for a TV show on one of the big four major networks.