Politics & Government

Trump will continue as executive producer of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ as president

President-elect Donald Trump will continue to serve as executive producer of “The New Celebrity Apprentice” after taking office in January.
President-elect Donald Trump will continue to serve as executive producer of “The New Celebrity Apprentice” after taking office in January. AP

In keeping with his unorthodox style, Donald Trump will be the first U.S. president in a lot of ways.

He’ll be the first commander-in-chief to be a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. He’ll be the first president with his own line of vodka. And, according to media reports on Thursday, he’ll be the first president to executive produce a reality TV show while in office.

Variety broke the news that Trump, who rose to fame thanks in part to his stints on the reality TV shows “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice,” will continue to serve as executive producer of “The New Celebrity Apprentice” when it comes back on NBC this January after a two-year hiatus.

The new iteration of the show, which will be hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is just the latest in a series of business ventures Trump is involved in that has raised questions about potential conflicts of interest when he takes office.

As executive producer, Trump will almost certainly not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the show, but his name will appear second in the credits, per Variety, after Mark Burnett, who helped create “The Apprentice.” And as executive producer, he will receive an undisclosed fee, which Variety reports is likely to be at least $10,000 per episode, with the show scheduled for an initial eight episodes after the new year.

“Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with Mark Burnett,” Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement to Fortune.

NBC, which will air “The New Celebrity Apprentice,” had previously cut its business ties with Trump after he called Mexicans “rapists” while announcing his presidential bid, but the network maintained its relationship with Burnett and his company, United Artists Media Group, according to Buzzfeed News. As a result, NBC will be paying Trump’s executive producer fee.

Variety reports that there is a precedent for presidents receiving royalties while in office, as previous executives have written books while in office. However, President Obama donated royalties from his 2010 book, “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters,” to charity.

News of Trump’s role in the television show comes on the heels of a New York Times report Wednesday that he plans to keep a stake in his multi-billion dollar business despite calls for him to divest to avoid conflicts of interest.

Meanwhile, Trump’s relationship with Burnett, his fellow executive producer, is also under scrutiny. After Burnett disavowed Trump’s campaign rhetoric but refused to release any footage from Trump’s time as host of the reality TV shows in October, he recently met with the president-elect to discuss his inauguration, according to the New York Times.

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