Trump remains producer on ‘New Celebrity Apprentice’
Los Angeles — Donald Trump is gone from the boardroom of NBC’s reboot of “Celebrity Apprentice” but he’s kept a business connection to the reality show.
President-elect Trump has an executive producer credit on “The New Celebrity Apprentice,” said Clare Anne Darragh, a spokesman for “Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett. She declined further comment on Trump’s participation in the show that taped last February.
Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The series debuts Jan. 2 with Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Trump as host. Schwarzenegger is an executive producer on the new show, as Trump was on the original.
Trump’s continued stake in a TV series is yet another unusual aspect of the election of a businessman and reality star to the presidency. Questions have been raised on how his extensive holdings may intersect with his actions as president.
Trump has tweeted that he will disclose plans on Dec. 15 to “take me completely out of business operations” without detailing what that means. He previously said that he plans to hand over management of his business to three of his adult children.
That falls short of what some government ethics experts are pushing him for, which is that he sell his assets and put the money in a “blind trust” overseen by an independent manager not related to him.
In TV, a producer’s tasks can range widely, but the credit also can be given as a so-called vanity perk and for compensation without actively working on a project. Trade publication Variety first reported he had retained the title.
NBC, which declined comment Thursday, previously faced scrutiny over its business dealings with Trump, which included beauty pageant telecasts as well as “Apprentice.”
In July 2015, NBC said it was severing its business ties to Trump following his claims that many undocumented Mexicans immigrants are criminals and rapists. The network licenses “New Celebrity Apprentice” from MGM, which produces it.
Burnett, a mega-producer whose other programs include “Survivor” and “The Voice,” also answered for his Trump relationship. He released a statement last October distancing himself and his wife, actress Roma Downey, from the GOP contender.
“I am not now and have never been a supporter of Donald Trump’s candidacy. I am NOT “Pro-Trump.” Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign,” said Burnett, who in 2015 was named president of MGM Television and Digital Group.
The statement followed pressure on Burnett and MGM to make public “Apprentice” outtakes after an Associated Press report that, during the show’s production, Trump repeatedly demeaned women with sexually tinged comments. That report was followed by release of an “Access Hollywood” audio tape with graphic Trump comments.
MGM said in October that it, not Burnett owns “The Apprentice” and would honor confidentiality and artist’s rights agreements in regard to “Apprentice.” No outtakes were released.