Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump are in a Twitter war over, of all things, Celebrity Apprentice, a low-rated TV show that hasn’t been relevant in years.
As Politico reports, Trump fired the opening salvo in his Twitter beef with Schwarzenegger on Wednesday at the National Prayer Breakfast. Trump, you may remember, had hosted both Celebrity Apprentice and its earlier incarnation, The Apprentice (which involved regular people, not celebrities), before giving up the job to run for president.
NBC, not wanting to let go of a money-making property (low ratings or not, reality TV shows are cheap to produce compared to scripted shows), hired a man who himself used to be an actor before becoming a politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take over Trump’s old job.
On January 2, the new version of the show, complete with its new host, began airing its 15th season. And on Wednesday, Trump snuck in a not-so-subtle dig about Arnold at the Prayer Breakfast.
“They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to take my place, and we know how that turned out. The ratings went right down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster. And [show creator] Mark [Burnett] will never, ever bet against Trump again, and I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings, OK?”
That Trump would use the National Prayer Breakfast as an opportunity to take jabs at Schwarzenegger was met with some derision. For example, Vanity Fair writer Laura Bradley wrote that Trump could have found something more relevant to talk about.
“At a time when our nation seems inextricably divided, one can think of many topics that might come up at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, held Thursday in Washington. Donald Trump, however, decided to seize the morning as a chance to bash Arnold Schwarzenegger, insulting the New Celebrity Apprentice host’s ratings yet again.”
However, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted on Thursday that Trump’s jab at Schwarzenegger was just “a lighthearted moment.”
A short time later, Schwarzenegger took to Twitter to offer Trump a challenge.
The National Prayer Breakfast? pic.twitter.com/KYUqEZbJIE
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 2, 2017
For those who can’t watch Arnold’s video, here’s what he said.
“Hey, Donald, I have a great idea: why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, because you’re such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job. And then people can finally sleep comfortably again.”
On Friday, Trump took to Twitter with his own response to Schwarzenegger.
Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as Governor of California and even worse on the Apprentice…but at least he tried hard!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
So have the ratings for Celebrity Apprentice gone down since Schwarzenegger took over the job from Trump? Actually, they have.
According to Vox, Schwarzenegger’s Celebrity Apprentice brought in 4.95 million live viewers, with a 1.3 rating in the critical 18- to 49-year-old demographic. Trump’s last season of TheCelebrity Apprentice launched with 6.31 million viewers and a 2.4 in the 18-49 demographic. So yes, Trump’s numbers for the last season of Celebrity Apprentice were most definitely better than Trump’s.
However, those numbers leave out some important context. First, as Vox points out, just about every TV show’s live ratings are down from 2015, thanks to changes in the way Americans watch TV (you can thank DVRs for that). Secondly, Celebrity Apprentice’s ratings have been on a steady decline for years, and Donald Trump’s continued association with the show (he remains an executive producer) may have something to do with Arnold’s comparatively low ratings, according to Bradley.
New episodes of Celebrity Apprentice, hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger and not Donald Trump, air Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on NBC.
[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images & Theo Wargo/Getty Images]