'Celebrity Ap­pren­tice' Press Con­fer­ence: Sch­warzeneg­ger De­fends Trump's Pro­ducer Role, Mark Bur­nett Ducks Questions

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

"The New Celebrity Ap­pren­tice" host Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger in­di­cated Fri­day that pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump could have had close in­volve­ment with the show's pro­duc­ers or NBC on pro­duc­tion of its up­com­ing sea­son, which was shot dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

Tak­ing questions from a small group of re­porters fol­low­ing a press con­fer­ence Fri­day at Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios, Sch­warzeneg­ger was asked whether Trump, who will re­tain an ex­ec­u­tive-pro­ducer credit on the up­com­ing sea­son, was in­volved with pro­duc­tion on the re­booted show. "Not with me," he an­swered. "It could eas­ily be that he was in­volved with NBC or with Mark Bur­nett, but not with me."

Sch­warzeneg­ger in­di­cated that Trump's level of in­volve­ment in the fran­chise go­ing for­ward is yet to be de­cided. "I think that he has to work it out how much he wants to par­tic­i­pate or not," he said. "I think this a ques­tion that you should ask him, be­cause he could just be sit­ting back, be­ing a silent part­ner or what­ever."

Dur­ing the press con­fer­ence, Sch­warzeneg­ger com­pared Trump's con­tin­ued in­volve­ment in the NBC re­al­i­ty­compe­ti­tion se­ries to his own tran­si­tion from film ac­tor to gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia more than a decade ago. "It's no dif­fer­ent than when I was run­ning for gov­er­nor and I was gov­er­nor," Sch­warzeneg­ger said. "My credit on 'Ter­mi­na­tor' stays the same." He added that he con­tin­ued to col­lect roy­al­ties from his film work while serv­ing as gov­er­nor.

No ap­pear­ances

Not ap­pear­ing at the press con­fer­ence Fri­day was ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and se­ries cre­ator Mark Bur­nett. An in­vite sent to press one week ago noted that Bur­nett would ap­pear along­side Sch­warzeneg­ger and the show's con­tes­tants. As Va­ri­ety re­ported ex­clu­sively Thurs­day, Trump will re­tain an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer credit on "The New Celebrity Ap­pren­tice." It re­mains un­clear how much Trump will profit from the se­ries, but his per-episode rate is ex­pected to be, at min­i­mum, in the low five fig­ures.

Trump will re­ceive pay­ments through MGM, which pro­duces the re­al­ity-com­pe­ti­tion se­ries and where Bur­nett is tele­vi­sion chief. "Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and con­ceived of it with Mark Bur­nett," Trump spokesper­son Hope Hicks said in a state­ment Thurs­day.

Sch­warzeneg­ger said that he knew when he agreed to take over the role as host of the se­ries af­ter Trump va­cated it to launch his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign last year that the now-pres­i­dent-elect would con­tinue to serve as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer. "I knew that from the be­gin­ning that he's ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on the show," said Sch­warzeneg­ger. "That was on the credit when you watched the show."

Asked Fri­day about Trump's prospects for suc­cess in the White House, Sch­warzeneg­ger, a fel­low Repub­li­can, pleaded for pa­tience. "I think you have to give him a chance," he said. "I don't think you can judge any­thing af­ter one month. Let us watch him go and get started be­fore we start to judge him." Sch­warzeneg­ger also re­fused to ad­dress questions about whether he would use his in­volve­ment in the show as lever­age to in­flu­ence Trump po­lit­i­cally, or whether Trump would try to use his own in­volve­ment in the show the new sea­son of which has al­ready been shot-to try to in­flu­ence its con­tent from the White House. "I don't get into hy­po­thet­i­cals of 'what is if Trump calls?' or 'what is if Trump says this?'" he said.

Ap­pear­ing on Fox News this after­noon, for­mer House Speaker Newt Gin­grich, who ad­vised Trump dur­ing the cam­paign and was a con­sid­ered as a po­ten­tial run­ning mate, crit­i­cized the pres­i­dent elect's de­ci­sion to serve as a pro­ducer on a tele­vi­sion show as he pre­pares to take of­fice. "He doesn't need his name in print. Don­ald J. Trump is go­ing to be the ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of a thing called the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment and he is go­ing have this a huge TV show called lead­ing the world," Gin­grich said to Fox News host Neil Cavuto. "The New Celebrity Ap­pren­tice" pre­mieres Jan. 2 on NBC. Trump will be in­au­gu­rated as pres­i­dent Jan. 20. — Reuters

— AP

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump throws a hat into the au­di­ence while speak­ing at a rally in a DOW Chem­i­cal Hanger at Ba­ton Rouge Metropoli­tan Air­port, Fri­day, Dec. 9, 2016, in Ba­ton Rouge.

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