Schwarzenegger to inject humour into New Celebrity Apprentice

(From far left) Tyra Banks, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his nephew Patrick M. Knapp Schwarzenegger at The New Celebrity Apprentice Q & A.
(From far left) Tyra Banks, Arnold Schwarzenegger and his nephew Patrick M. Knapp Schwarzenegger at The New Celebrity Apprentice Q & A.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • As US President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office as the American president, another celebrity-turned- politician is about to take over his Apprentice TV show hot seat and is hoping for higher ratings.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator movie star who served two terms as California governor, promises a more humorous touch on The New Celebrity Apprentice, starting on Monday on NBC with a new round of stars taking on business-related challenges.

Schwarzenegger, 69, said he asked for the reality show to move from New York to California and to reflect his personality.

"Even though it looked very dramatic and terrific when you saw the boardroom in New York, it was kind of dark. I wanted to see everything more bright.

"I'm a very upbeat person and I have a good sense of humour," Schwarzenegger told reporters ahead of the premiere.

"I want to play up my personality. Trump did a great job playing up his personality," he said.

Mr Trump's 11-year stint on The Apprentice and sister show Celebrity Apprentice catapulted him from New York businessman to a household name.

More than 20 million Americans were regular viewers in the show's early years, falling to around six million last year.

News that Mr Trump will retain an executive producer credit on the show, which usually involves a payment, caused a media furore earlier this month about potential conflicts of interest.

Schwarzenegger has said he does not expect Mr Trump to take an active role in the show and has defended the arrangement as similar to his own transition from movie star to politician in 2003.

"I am the new host. I hope I can match up with what he has done and continue on with a great, successful show... I want to have my ratings a little higher than his were," he quipped.

The new show has some serious star power with its advisers, who include billionaire investor Warren Buffett, ex-Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and former supermodel Tyra Banks.

The 16 contestants include singer Boy George, Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil, boxer Laila Ali and former Jersey Shore star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi.

Mr Trump used the catchphrase "You're fired!", but Schwarzenegger says viewers will have to wait and see what tagline he has chosen.

"You're terminated? Hasta la vista baby? Consider this a divorce? There're many, many lines we can grab," he said, referring to some of his famous movie lines.

"That's the great thing when you have had a long movie career."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2016, with the headline 'Schwarzenegger to inject humour into New Celebrity Apprentice'. Print Edition | Subscribe