U.S. broadcaster NBC has named former California governor and action film icon Arnold Schwarzenegger as its new host for reality competition series Celebrity Apprentice, set to return in the 2016-2017 season.
Long-time host Donald Trump is currently courting the U.S. presidency as a potential Republican candidate.
The series, produced by Mark Burnett’s United Artists Media Group, will see Schwarzenegger join Burnett, Page Feldman and Eric van Wagenen as exec producers for the upcoming season.
In a statement, Paul Telegdy, president of NBC Entertainment alternative and late night programming, said that Schwarzenegger’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” made him the perfect candidate.
Trump hosted the series for seven seasons, and the network stated that over that period, the series helped raise more than US$15 million for charity.
“After leaving the show to run for political office, Donald made it clear that he wanted The Celebrity Apprentice to be able to continue to raise millions of dollars annually for worthy causes, and now NBC and I have found an amazing new leader to do just that,” said Burnett via the official statement. “Gov. Schwarzenegger will use his vast and highly successful business, political and media experience to drive this hit franchise to new heights.”
In late June, following controversial comments made by Trump towards Mexican immigrants, NBC released a statement saying it was “ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.” However, hours before an appearance on the network’s Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Trump announced he had bought out the network’s share of the Miss Universe organization, and had “settled all lawsuits against them.”