Arnold Schwarzenegger has terminated his relationship with The Apprentice after one season.
“I loved every second of working with NBC and Mark Burnett,” the actor-turned-governor-turned-reality show host said in a statement. “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 this baggage.”
The “baggage” Schwarzenegger refers to, of course, is the show’s association with longtime host Donald Trump, who frequently – as President of the United States – criticized Schwarzenegger and The New Celebrity Apprentice‘s lagging ratings on Twitter.
On February 3rd, two weeks after taking the Oval Office, Trump tweeted, “Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as Governor of California and even worse on the Apprentice … but at least he tried hard!” The two unlikely politicians even publicly feuded about Celebrity Apprentice.
In an interview with Empire, Schwarzenegger blamed Trump’s meddling and presence (as a producer on the series) for the ratings dive.
“It’s not about the show, because everyone I ran into came up to me and said ‘I love the show. .. but I turned it off because as soon as I read Trump’s name, I’m outta there,” the actor said. “When people found out that Trump was still involved as executive producer and was still receiving money from the show, then half the people [started] boycotting it.”
Before Schwarzenegger’s statement, he told Empire that, even if invited back to the reality competition, he would decline.”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 support the show,” he said. “It’s a very divisive period now and I think this show got caught up in all that division.”