Schwarzenegger to TV show: I won't be back

LOS ANGELES • Arnold Schwarze- negger has confirmed that he is terminating his time on The New Celebrity Apprentice after blaming President Donald Trump's continued involvement for its poor ratings.

The 69-year-old actor - famous for his catchphrase "I'll be back" - had earlier told entertainment magazine Empire that he had no plans to return to the show after his debut season, and would decline even if asked by creator Mark Burnett.

"I loved every second of working with NBC and Mark Burnett. Everyone, from the celebrities to the crew..., was a straight 10 and I would work with all of them again on a show that doesn't have this baggage," he said in a statement to the United States media on Friday.

"With Trump being involved in the show, people... don't want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show," Mr Schwarzenegger had told Empire. "It's a very divisive period now and I think this show got caught up in all that division."

He added that he had positive feedback on his own performance but people had told him they could not watch after seeing Mr Trump's name in the credits as executive producer. "When people found out that Trump was still involved... and was still receiving money from the show, then half the people (started) boycotting it."

Mr Trump, the original host from 2008 to 2014, and Mr Schwarzenegger sparred on Twitter after it was revealed that ratings for the reality business show had dipped.

"Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as Governor of California and even worse on The Apprentice... but at least he tried hard," Mr Trump tweeted on Feb 3.

"The ratings went right down the tubes," the President had said a day earlier at an annual prayer breakfast for religious leaders, which Mr Burnett also attended. "Mark will never, ever bet against Trump again. And I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings."

Mr Schwarzenegger hit back with a link to a story about his release of his tax returns during his campaign to be re-elected as governor of California in 2006.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 05, 2017, with the headline 'Schwarzenegger to TV show: I won't be back'. Print Edition | Subscribe