The Celebrity Apprentice aired its season finale Monday evening, in an episode that NBC edited for broadcast from two hours to one.
Not a good sign for the reality franchise now hosted by actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who took over for Donald Trump, who was elected as the 45th U.S. president on November 8, 2016, but who still receives an executive producer credit because of his ownership interest in the show.
The question now becomes, will NBC execs have to tell Arnold Schwarzenegger “you’re fired” or will Arnold be in a position to say “I’ll be back”?
Premiering on January 2 for its 15th overall season, the latest iteration of the Celebrity Apprentice, a show which was on a two-year hiatus in the absence of Trump, came and went without much buzz despite an initial NBC promotional push, but in case you were wondering, the winner was [Spoiler alert] stand-up comedian and American Ninja Warrior host Matt Iseman, 46. Boy George was the runner-up.
In the final challenge, Iseman outdueled George, despite the musician’s rich celebrity contacts, to raise the most cash for his designated charity, the Arthritis Foundation.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, ratings for the seven-episode run were lackluster, and the season finale finished last among the four major broadcast networks with a 0.9 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, behind ABC’s The Bachelor, CBS sitcoms, and a new cop show on Fox. As compared with Donald Trump’s last season in the Celebrity Apprentice boardroom, the reboot was down a staggering 42 percent in the key demo. THR described that outcome as a “death knell.” Although the ratings numbers seem to be fluid to some extent, evidently the show won’t pick up enough time-shifting DVR viewers to improve its fortunes.
A former Democrat and independent who ran for president on the GOP ticket, Trump and #NeverTrump Republican Schwarzenegger feuded during the course of the season, with Trump describing the show during remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast as a total disaster and that people should pray for Arnold.
The Governator fired back on Twitter, suggesting that he and Trump switch jobs so people can sleep comfortably.
Entertainment website The Wrap claims that Arnold is one and done as host of the Celebrity Apprentice, describing the first episode as “a dog” and then “a dog with fleas” by week 2 in terms of Neilsen numbers.
“Long story short, Arnold almost certainly won’t (Terminator voice) ‘be back’ — and neither will the franchise.”
While separately noting that the Celebrity Apprentice season finale with Arnold at the helm tied an all-time ratings low, TheWrap added that the show in a refurbished version could possibly return to network television at some point, but not anytime soon.
“Since the show’s new host has proven ‘Expendable’ based on viewership, casting could go nowhere without a better boardroom boss.”
There’s always a possibility that the series will return to basics with non-celebrity contestants as it originally featured in its first six seasons. As it stands now, the franchise uses a flexible definition of celebrity.
By way of additional comparison, the finale attracted about 3.5 million real-time viewers as compare to the 2015 finale hosted by Trump, which garnered 6.1 million, Business Insider reported.
Deadline Hollywood provides more details about the ratings shortfall for the New Celebrity Apprentice as it was called this season.
“Arnie-to-Trump, last night’s Season 8 finale was down a hard 47% among adults 18-49 from the Season 7 ender of February 16, 2015, the last one hosted by the now POTUS. The previous finale low for the franchise was the 1.5 rating the May 19, 2013 airing of All-Star Celebrity Apprentice…”
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
If you watched the Celebrity Apprentice with Arnold Schwarzenegger, how do you rate his decision-making TV performance as compared to Donald Trump? Given that the ratings appear to have tanked, do you think that Arnold’s run as host will come to an end after one season?
[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Images]