Next year, the president of the United States will also be on the payroll of a reality TV show.
Donald Trump is expected to retain his executive producer credit on NBC’s newly revamped Celebrity Apprentice and receive royalties from the show.
As first reported by Variety, and confirmed to EW by producer MGM, the president-elect will keep his credit on the show that he hosted for 14 seasons. NBC announced that Trump was leaving the series last year after he launched his presidential campaign.
Trump’s press secretary Hope Hicks told Politico: “Mr. Trump has a big stake in the show and conceived of it with [executive producer] Mark Burnett …Additional details regarding his business interests will be shared December 15.”
While it might seem odd that Trump would remain a producer on a show that he left, it would actually be far more unusual to lose his credit. Typically, founding executive producers retain their credit throughout a program’s run, even if they leave. (And keeping a producer credit does not mean Trump will be involved in the show; the TV landscape is riddled with producer credits that are merely contractual.) Just recently, writer-producer Bryan Fuller departed CBS Access’ upcoming Star Trek: Discovery after writing the first two episodes, yet he’ll retain his exec producer credit — and that show hasn’t even launched yet.
The difference, of course, is that Bryan Fuller wasn’t just elected president (as amazing of a prospect as that might be). Trump is being pressured to shed any financial interests that could be conflicts of interest before he takes office.
Celebrity Apprentice returns Jan. 2 after two years off the air, with Arnold Schwarzenegger taking over the boardroom.
Trump, after no time off the air, will take over the White House on Jan. 20.