Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced that he would not be returning for the next season of Celebrity Apprentice.
According to CNN, the 69-year-old actor revealed his decision on Friday to NBC and released a statement via a representative to the public. The former governor of California blamed President Trump, adding that the president’s poor popularity had affected ratings of the show.
Arnold Schwarzenegger tells Donald Trump to hire a fact checker as Celebrity Apprentice spat continues https://t.co/JlUVtkhY0K
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 5, 2017
“I loved every second of working with NBC and Mark Burnett. Everyone—from the celebrities to the crew to the marketing department—was a straight 10, and I would absolutely work with all of them again on a show that doesn’t have baggage.”
The Terminator star’s decision comes after the 15th season of the Celebrity Apprentice attracted dwindling numbers for NBC, which premiered back in January with 4.9 million viewers. The previous season had recorded 7.6 million viewers. While the finale for the 14th season got 6.1 million viewers, the 15th season anchored by Schwarzenegger had recorded 3.5 million viewers.
Statistics show that even when the show was being anchored by Mr. Trump, it had been steadily dropping from the 21 million viewers that watched the first season in 2004.
President Trump had mocked the low ratings when the show opened at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. According to NBC News, Trump, who allegedly earned $213 million from the show before he became president, asked the crowd to pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger because of the nosedive in ratings.
“They hired a big, big movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger to take my place. And we know how that turned out. The ratings went down the tubes. It’s been a total disaster. I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings.”
Television and movie producer, Mark Burnett, who helped Trump create the show, had introduced him at the bipartisan breakfast. The 70-year-old president had recounted how his agent hated the show but turned around to ask for a commission after the reality TV series became a huge hit. President Trump revealed that he had fired him.
Arnold Schwarzenegger had responded with a jab of his own through a representative. According to Deadline, the True Lies actor had admitted that he was also praying for the 45th president of the United States for an improvement in his ratings, adding that they were the worst in history for an incoming president.
The 69-year-old actor in a Twitter video had also told the president that it would be a great idea if they switched jobs.
— Kris MG (@krismess_kool) February 4, 2017
“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 comfortable again.”
Many observers had questioned why Mr. Trump would bring up talk about a reality show in the presence of religious leaders and diplomats when there were more crucial things to talk about. White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer had whittled down the controversy calling it a “lighthearted moment” between the president and Burnett.
Hours earlier, the president had accused his predecessor Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Towers. The real estate mogul had then shifted his gaze to Arnold Schwarzenegger, claiming that the actor was fired from the show and did not leave of his own free will.
Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Arnold Schwarzenegger took over hosting duties following the departure of Trump from the show in 2014. However, the billionaire businessman stayed on as an executive producer as Schwarzenegger was hired in September 2015.
The Raw Deal actor, in an interview with Empire magazine, clarified what he meant by “baggage,” revealing that the show’s association with President Trump had been bad for business.
“With Trump being involved in the show, people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way to support the show. It’s a very divisive period now, and I think this show got caught up in all the attention.”
According to the Hollywood actor, many people discovered that Trump was still making money from the show and started boycotting it, despite the good intentions of NBC to promote the new season.
[Feature Image by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Images]