Arnold Schwarzenegger will replace Donald Trump as host of NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice.
The network announced Monday that the actor and former two-term governor of California would replace Trump on the reality business competition television series.
“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,” executive producer Mark Burnett said in a statement. “Gov. Schwarzenegger will use his vast and highly successful business, political and media experience to drive this hit franchise to new heights.”
“I have always been a huge fan of The Celebrity Apprentice and the way it showcases the challenges and triumphs of business and teamwork,” Schwarzenegger said in his own statement. “I am thrilled to briny my experience to the boardroom and to continue to raise millions for charity. Let’s get started!”
Wow. I'm blown away and honored by all your tweets. I can't wait to bring my experience to the board room & raise millions for charity.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) September 14, 2015
Schwarzenegger joins the show for its upcoming 15th iteration, which NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt confirmed would not air during the 2015-2016 season, but would instead likely return next year.
“Arnold Schwarzenegger is the epitome of a global brand in entertainment and business, and his accomplishments in the political arena speak for themselves,” NBC executive Paul Telegdy said in a statement. “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!”
Trump had hosted the show for more than a decade when he announced he would seek the presidency in June. Trump’s involvement with the show was initially suspended due to broadcasting rules that require networks give equal airtime to all presidential candidates, but NBC later severed ties with the now-Republican frontrunner after his strong remarks on illegal immigration during his campaign announcement speech.
Schwarzenegger returned to acting, with decidedly mixed results, after concluding his job as California’s governor in 2011. He starred in the action hero series The Expendables and made a return to the Terminator franchise in this year’s Terminator Genisys. Schwarzenegger also appeared in an episode of Two and a Half Men, and is reportedly scheduled to return to another franchise he popularized when he stars as the warrior Conan in the upcoming The Legend of Conan.
Trump congratulated Schwarzenegger on receiving the new hosting gig on Monday:
Congrats to my friend @Schwarzenegger who is doing next season’s Celebrity Apprentice. He'll be great & will raise lots of $ for charity.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 14, 2015