Celebrity Apprentice Replaces Trump with the Governator

It looks like fans of NBC’s The Apprentice will have to wait until January 2017 for Arnold Schwarzenegger to ride in on his white horse and “take the reigns” of the popular reality series. The “’NEW’ Celebrity Apprentice” will mark Season 15 for the franchise and season 8 for the celebrity version.

Given Donald Trump’s political bid, producers found an apt replacement, someone like him who had built a strong personal brand, someone with a passion for real estate investments and someone with the laurels of political success.

Quoted by the Hollywood Reporter in September of 2015, Paul Telegdy, President of NBC for alternative and late night programming, said “Arnold Schwarzenegger is the epitome of a global brand in entertainment and business, and his accomplishments in the political arena speak for themselves.”

“It was Arnold’s personal passion for the format that Mark Burnett and Donald Trump built over the last decade, as well as his fresh take on how to take it to new heights for today’s audiences, that made him the man to hire,” Telegdy added.

Advisors for the new slate of celebrity contestants include super model and business woman Tyra Banks, actor, model and business woman Jessica Alba, Warren Buffett, and former Microsoft CEO and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer. Like Trump, Schwarzenegger will also have family members advising him. His nephew, entertainment attorney Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger will be on the team of advisors. A partner at the Beverly Hills entertainment law firm Bloom, Hergott, Diemer, Rosenthal, Laviolette, Feldman, Schenkman & Goodman, Schwarzenegger represents some of the top actors, writers, directors and producers in Hollywood.

He is the son of Schwarzenegger’s only sibling, Meinhard Schwarzenegger, who died in a car accident in 1971 when Patrick was 3 years old. Knapp Schwarzenegger was born in Germany and raised in Austria and Portugal. When he was 19, Knapp Schwarzenegger immigrated to the United States with the help of his uncle. In 1991 Knapp Schwarzenegger graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with degrees in economics and political science, and in 1995 he earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California Law School. [i]

Contestants this season

·         Laila Ali, retired boxing world champion and daughter of Muhammad Ali

·         Brooke Burke-Charvet, actress, TV host and CEO of ModernMom.com

·         Eric Dickerson, pro football hall of fame running back

·         Boy George, Grammy-winning singer

·         Matt Iseman, America Ninja Warrior host

·         Carrie Keagan, actress, writer and former host of VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live with Carrie Keagan

·         Carson Kressley, Emmy-winning reality TV fixture and celebrity stylist

·         Lisa Leslie, four-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion

·         Jon Lovitz, comedian and former Saturday Night Live star

·         Vince Neil, lead vocalist of Mötley Crüe

·         Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, former star of Jersey Shore

·         Kyle Richards, actress and star of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

·         Chael Sonnen, former UFC fighter and mixed martial artist

·         Porsha Williams, singer and star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta

·         Ricky Williams, Heisman Trophy winner for the University of Texas and ESPN sports analyst

·         Carnie Wilson, singer and member of Wilson Phillips

Rather than Trump Tower in New York, the new board room will be in Los Angeles’ Silicon Beach, the site of tech start-ups in everything from app development to software and film production and editing. It is also very near Venice Beach, Schwarzenegger’s old stomping ground where he worked out to gain five Mr. Universe titles and seven Mr. Olympia titles before becoming an actor.

This season’s lineup of “business-savvy celebrities” will compete in challenging tasks, more focused than ever on technology and innovation. As they test their ability to work together as a team, they will also be raising money and awareness for their favorite causes.

Like past seasons, each episode will conclude with a compelling boardroom showdown, as Schwarzenegger evaluates the performances of all of the players before deciding which team wins the challenge and who will be sent home,” according to NBC promotional material.

Over the course of the series, “The Celebrity Apprentice” has raised more than $15 million for charity. This season’s winner will gain the coveted title of the Celebrity Apprentice and a $250,000 check to give to their designated charity.

I wonder what Schwarzenegger’s closing line will be. Rather than “you’re fired,” will he say “you’re terminated,” “hasta la vista, baby,” or “you won’t be back”?  Tune in on January 2 and we will all find out.

“The Celebrity Apprentice” is produced and internationally distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Mark Burnett, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Page Feldman and Eric Van Wagenen are executive producers.
[i] Los Angeles Times, April 3, 1990, NEW YORK OVERNIGHT: Schwarzenegger ‘Like a Father’ to His Nephew     April 03, 1990|TOM POSTNER and PHIL ROURA