Donald Trump will remain an executive producer on the new iteration of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, Mashable has confirmed even after the president-elect takes office.
The show will premiere on Jan. 2 with Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Trump as host. The new season will run for eight episodes. According to Variety, who first broke the news of Trump’s continued involvement with the reality competition, Trump’s name will appear in the show’s credits after Apprentice creator Mark Burnett’s, and before Schwarzenegger, who is also an executive producer on the new season.
Trump’s transition spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, has told members of the press that “Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett. Additional details regarding his business interests will be shared December 15th.”
Hope Hicks: ‘Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett. 1/2
Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) December 8, 2016
Asked about Apprentice royalties, Hope Hicks says Additional details regarding his business interests will be shared December 15th 2/2
Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) December 8, 2016
Variety reports that Trump is also a profit participant on the lucrative Apprentice franchise, a format which has been sold around the world in numerous markets, and will continue to be paid for his involvement with the series through production company MGM.
NBC previously announced that they were cutting ties with Trump in June 2015 following controversial statements Trump made during his campaign announcement, in which he called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and criminals.
Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump, NBC said in a statement at the time. At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.
NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt reiterated that stance in January 2016 at the bi-annual Television Critics Association winter press tour, when reporters pressed him on NBC’s decision to have Trump host an episode of Saturday Night Live.
“We had a couple businesses that we were doing with him, Apprentice and the [Miss USA and Miss Universe] pageants. We got out of that business, got out of both of those businesses, and that was June, July, when most of us thought he would be sort of waltzing into the background of the political arena,” Greenblatt told reporters. “And lo and behold, hes the front-runner, and the poll numbers are sort of astounding, and hes everywhere. Hes on every news show, every morning show, every nightly show, every cable news show. Hes been on Colbert. Hes been on Fallon. He was on SNL, and I think that reconciles quite easily with were not in business with him, but hes love it or not one of the most important political figures of our time.”
Trump then hit back at NBC in a statement to Mashable, saying the network was “weak, and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct.”
“Thanks to Mark Burnett, we dont have to watch reality shows anymore, we are living in one.”
Burnett has also faced criticism for his ties to Trump; at the 2016 Emmy awards, host Jimmy Kimmel jokingly blamed the reality producer for giving Trump a platform via The Apprentice franchise.
“Thanks to Mark Burnett, we dont have to watch reality shows anymore, we are living in one,” Kimmel said during his monologue. “If Donald Trump gets elected and builds that wall, the first person we are throwing over it is Mark Burnett.”
After tape surfaced of Trump joking about sexually assaulting women during an Access Hollywood segment with Billy Bush, and the Associated Press published a report alleging that Trump made demeaning and misogynistic comments about female cast and crew members on The Apprentice, many called for Burnett and MGM to release tapes that may have further evidenced Trump’s allegedly sexist behavior on set.
In October, Burnett issued a statement that he was unable to release such material even if it did exist, and further tried to distance himself from Trump’s campaign: “Given all of the false media reports, I feel compelled to clarify a few points. I am not now and have never been a supporter of Donald Trumps candidacy. I am NOT ‘Pro-Trump.’ Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.
Earlier this week, however, Trump met with Burnett and Thomas Barrack Jr. to discuss plans for his inauguration, according to the New York Times:
Despite the modest nature of the events under consideration, Mr. Barrack said Mr. Burnett was actively involved in producing the inauguration week festivities. He will have a large team to work with, as the committees staff in Washington is expected to swell to more than 300 people by Inauguration Day.
Mark is a genius, and the president-elect loves him, Mr. Barrack said. Referring to the Tuesday meeting, he said, This was about throwing stuff out if you are thinking in the frame of mind of what a global audience would see.
For his part, Schwarzenegger former governor of California and a self-proclaimed Republican, announced that he would not vote for Trump or support his candidacy, noting, “As proud as I am to label myself a Republican, there is one label that I hold above all else American. So I want to take a few moments today to remind my fellow Republicans that it is not only acceptable to choose your country over your party it is your duty.”