Expert: Don’t Blame Arnold If ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ Bombs

“I think, frankly, that the show is kind of worn out"

Donald Trump Arnold Schwarzenegger Celebrity Apprentice

Don’t blame Arnold Schwarzenegger if the retooled CELEBRITY APPRENTICE falls flat on its face.

“I think, frankly that the show is kind of worn out and if it fails, it won’t be Schwarzenegger’s fault,” says Professor Robert Thompson of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University.

“It will mean that its shelf life has passed.”

The TERMINATOR star and two term California governor was tapped Tuesday to replace eccentric billionaire Donald Trump as host of the long-running NBC reality show.

But will audiences be able to see past the ghost of Trump, for whom the APPRENTICE franchise was originally created in 2004.

I think Arnold has as good a chance as anyone to reinvent the show,” says Brad Adgate of Horizon Media.  “He has executive experience, has been a spokesperson for marketers and is well known as good a selection as you can ask for.”

Thompson agrees, but admits he was a bit caught off guard by the selection.

“I would not have predicted Schwarzenegger as Trumps’s replacement,” he tells  “But I have to say it is an interesting choice.  He is a character that can almost point for point compete with Trump for being a character.  He is a big over the top presence.  That is the whole point of the show.”

THE APPRENTICE debuted in January 2004 as a sort of AMERICAN IDOL for wannabe business executives.  The show has been a consistent ratings winner with Trump in the boardroom, but failed to spark viewer interest during a special season starring homemaker Martha Stewart.

“She didn’t end up being very good on screen for that kind of show,” Thompson says.

“She was not as interesting at being the ruthless boss as she was a person making wreaths out of grapevines.  Plus her star was also starting to decline when she did that show.”

The network says it “parted ways” with the Trump in June following his controversial remarks about illegal Mexican immigrants.  Trump continues to insist that he quit to make a run for The White House.

Despite the Trump connection and the Stewart failure, NBC programming boss Bob Greenblatt says he is confident the franchise can continue:  “I think we have every chance of continuing the success of Celebrity Apprentice with a new host.”

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

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Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly