President-elect Donald Trump says he played a role in choosing his replacement host for The Celebrity Apprentice, the reality show which he still partially owns after hosting for more than a decade.
“We chose Arnold Schwarzenegger to do it, and we’ll see how that works out,” Trump told TIME on Nov. 28, in an interview shortly before he was named Person of the Year. He said the moment he gave up continuing to host the show was the moment he knew he was going to run for President.
Variety reported Thursday that Trump will remain an executive producer on the series, with his name appearing second on the roster of credits after creator Mark Burnett and before Schwarzenegger. In an interview with TIME in August 2015, Trump confirmed that he maintained an ownership stake in the show. “Yeah I do. A big interest,” he said. “I own the show with Mark Burnett.”
Burnett met with Trump at Trump Tower this week to discuss the presidential inauguration, with Trump telling donors to his inaugural committee Wednesday that Burnett encouraged him to consider a major revamp of the traditional ceremonies surrounding his swearing-in. According to two people in the room, Trump boasted that Burnett had suggested flying a helicopter to the Inaugural on the Capitol grounds as well as holding a parade in New York City.
Trump announced he will hold a press conference on Dec. 15 to outline how he will seek to mitigate the substantial potential for conflicts of interest facing a person of his means occupying the Oval Office. But according to people familiar with his thinking, Trump is almost certain to maintain a financial stake in his business, the Trump Organization, which would not resolve ethics concerns raised by government watchdogs and the Office of Government Ethics.
In an interview with CNN Friday, former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said, “Presidents have a right to do things in their spare time.”
The new Celebrity Apprentice is scheduled to begin on NBC on January 2, 2017.
With reporting by Elizabeth Dias/Washington.
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