WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump won’t be firing himself from “Celebrity Apprentice.”
The Republican businessman plans to remain an executive producer on the show that made him a television star, a source confirmed to Reuters.
Trump, who famously barked the catchphrase “You’re fired!” as he dismissed competitors on the “Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice” programs, stepped down from the program last year when he entered the 2016 Republican presidential race.
“Celebrity Apprentice” returns to the air with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger as host on Jan. 2, 18 days before Trump is sworn in as president.
Variety, which first reported Trump’s decision to remain as executive producer, said his name will air in the credits before that of Schwarzenegger, star of the “Terminator” movies and a two-term governor of California. The show is broadcast by NBC, a unit of Comcast Corp.
Variety said he was likely to be due a payment in the low five-figures per episode.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway did not confirm that Trump would retain the executive producer credit and said she did not know whether he would accept potential payments for the program.
”Presidents have a right to do things in their spare time or their leisure time,“ she told CNN. ”Nobody objects to that.
“I can tell you that work is his work and work is his hobby.”
Debuting in 2004, “The Apprentice” and its spinoff, “Celebrity Apprentice,” featured teams trying to win Trump’s favor in various money-making competitions. They were ratings hits - drawing nearly 21 million viewers at their peak - and boosted Trump’s popularity after he suffered a financial downturn in the 1990s.
Trump has been speaking to lawyers and protocol experts about what he can and cannot do with his global business interests once he takes office on Jan. 20, Conway said on CNN. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Emily Stephenson; Editing by Bill Trott)