Following his very public feud with Donald Trump, Arnold Schwarzenegger has had enough, and told Empire Online that his first season as host of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" is also his last. In an interview, the former California governor blamed Trump, who has repeatedly mocked the ratings of his reality TV replacement, as the reason for his early departure.
“Even if asked [to do it again] I would decline,” Schwarzenegger told Empire . "I learned a lot, I had a great time, it was a really great opportunity. But under the circumstances I don’t want to do it again.”
“With Trump being involved in the show people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or sponsor or in any other way support the show. It’s a very divisive period right now and I think the show got caught up in all that division."
That said, perhaps there is another reason why the governator is quitting: Schwarzenegger's ratings as host of "Apprentice" have lagged far behind Trump's, finishing the season last in its time slot among the four broadcast networks. Arnold, however, refused to take blame and blamed Trump for the bad numbers.
“It’s not about the show,” Schwarzenegger said. “Because everyone I ran into came up to me and said ‘I love the show…but I turned it off as I read Trump’s name I’m outta there.’” “When people found out that Trump was still involved as executive producer and was still receiving money from the show, then half the people [started] boycotting it,” he added.
Despite still serving as executive producer, Trump has more than once mocked the drop in viewership. "Now compare him to my season 1," Trump tweeted in January. "But who cares, he supported Kasich & Hillary."
The bad blood between the two TV stars is well-documented: Schwarzenegger spoke out against Trump during last year's campaign and has sharply criticized his travel ban, saying the executive order "makes us look stupid."
Last month, after the president pointed out the drop in "Apprentice" ratings during his comments at the National Prayer Breakfast, the former Republican governor responded on Twitter. "Hey Donald, I have a great idea," Schwarzenegger said. "You take over TV, because you're such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job. And then people can finally sleep comfortable again. Hmm?"
While we leave it to readers to decide if Arnie "will be back", it remains unclear who - if anyone - will replace the Austrian immigrant as the show's next host.