He won’t be back. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced on Friday, March 3, that he is stepping down as host of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, according to the network. This follows the film star and former California governor having butted heads frequently with former host and now-president Donald Trump throughout Schwarzenegger’s lone season with the show.
“I loved every second of working with NBC and Mark Burnett,” Schwarzenegger, 69, said in a statement to Us Weekly. “Everyone — from the celebrities to the crew to the marketing department — was a straight 10, and I would absolutely work with all of them again on a show that doesn’t have this baggage.”
In an interview with Empire that was published on March 3, Schwarzenegger explained his decision to leave: “With Trump being involved in the show, people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show. It’s a very divisive period now, and I think this show got caught up in all that division.”
The Terminator star and Trump — who has remained an executive producer of the competition series — have exchanged barbs since the new season debuted in January. “Wow, the ratings are in, and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT,” Trump tweeted in January. Schwarzenegger responded by referring to Trump in an interview as a “skunk,” and later tweeted to the commander in chief, “I wish you the best of luck and I hope you’ll work for ALL of the American people as aggressively as you worked for your ratings.”
NBC first announced in September 2015 that Schwarzenegger would step in as host. The network decided to sever business ties with Trump in June 2015 after he launched his presidential campaign with a speech suggesting that some Mexican-American immigrants are criminals and rapists.
Celebrity Apprentice struggled in the ratings this season, and NBC has yet to pick up the show for another run. Matt Iseman emerged victorious in the season finale that aired last month.