Expectations were high for NBC's New Celebrity Apprentice, but the ratings — at least for the first episode — have not quite matched those expectations. And now, one of the executive producers of the show has taken to Twitter to slam the show for not performing.
"Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got 'swamped' (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT," tweeted EP Donald J. Trump, who is also the president-elect of the United States and a former host of the show. "So much for being a movie star-and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1."
Season 14 of Celebrity Apprentice, the last hosted by Trump, wasn't exactly a ratings monster itself. Approximately 6.10 million people watched the finale (which aired Feb. 16, 2015), and it only grabbed a 1.7 in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic. Compare that to the 4.95 million who watched Monday's premiere of New Celebrity Apprentice, and you're actually on par with at least two of the final episodes of Season 14.
It should also be noted the TV landscape is vastly different from early 2015. There are more viewing options, more time-shifted viewing, and it's also possible that other factors (diminished interest in the show over 14-plus seasons, perhaps some political factors, maybe, just throwing it out there) could have affected the ratings.
Schwarzenegger, who also actually has some experience in government, having been governor of California for eight years, responded Friday morning to his executive producer's tweets — also on Twitter — saying, "There's nothing more important than the people's work, @realDonaldTrump. 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."
What's most surprising about this is an executive producer of a show publicly coming out against his own interests. We'll have to see if this changes his relationship with the show, or if Mark Burnett, who is one of the producers, drops him as EP over the furor — as the show's new catchphrase goes, "You're terminated!" But hopefully if that does happen, Mr. Trump has some other job to fall back on.
Editor's Note: this story has been updated to include Mr. Schwarzenegger's response.