On Oct. 10, The Apprentice producer Mark Burnett broke his silence on the "hatred, division and misogyny" associated with Donald Trump's presidential campaign, just days after the leak of the 2005 Access Hollywood tape in which Trump boasted to Billy Bush of groping women. Burnett's decision to denounce his longtime collaborator comes at a tenuous time for the Apprentice franchise, as NBC gears up to relaunch the show with another figure whose treatment of women has come under scrutiny: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
When The New Celebrity Apprentice debuts in January, it willboast a different location (L.A.'s Silicon Beach instead of New York City), fresh advisers (including Warren Buffett, Tyra Banks and Jessica Alba) and, most notably, a new star in the 69-year-old actor and former California governor. But while NBC is touting Schwarzenegger as a departure from Trump, the two men share eyebrow-raising similarities: The former also was accused of sexual assault by multiple women shortly before the gubernatorial election in 2003.
See photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger through the years:
Arnold Schwarzenegger through the years
Arnold Schwarzenegger through the years
"My body. *My* choice!"
As a kid himself!
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his daughter Katherine attend Trust Your Senses At DVF for Fashion's Night Out on September 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for DVF)
NEW ORLEANS - FEBRUARY 16: (LtoR) California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with son Patrick Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver and Christopher Schwarzenegger watch during NBA All-Star Saturday Night part of 2008 NBA All-Star Weekend at the New Orleans Arena on February 16, 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 16: Arnold Schwarzenegger and wife Maria Shriver are on hand at the Plaza Hotel where he was honored with a Global Youth Peace & Tolerance Award. (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
E366553 3/26/00 Los Angeles, Ca. Arnold Schwarzenegger And Wife Maria Shriver At The 72Nd Annual Academy Awards. Dave Mcnewonline Usa Inc. (Photo By David Mcnew/Getty Images)
368141 12: ***ESCLUSIVE*** Arnold Schwarzenegger plays in the hotel swimming pool with one of his daughters during an Easter vacation April 21, 2000 in Maui, Hawaii. (Photo by Chris Morton/Online USA)
BEIJING - MAY 19: (NO U.S. TABLOID SALES) Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, television journalist Maria Shriver, visit the Forbidden City during a Special Olympics Event May 19, 2000 in Beijing, China. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)
Arnold Schwarzenegger & Family during Hollywood Celebrity Families turn out to Celebrate Old Navy and P.S. Arts Partnership at Old Navy Store in Santa Monica, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
399207 01: Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his son, Patrick, pose in front of an F-22 Raptor with airmen in this undated recent photo at Edwards Air Force Base in California. In a recent poll, military members voted Schwarzenegger the star they would most like to meet. (Photo by Stacee McCausland/USAF/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger walks with his wife Maria Shriver and their four children to his inaugural ceremony at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Novemeber 17, 2003 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Lucy Nicholson-Pool/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 01: Eunice Shriver with daughter Maria, Arnold Schwarzenegger and some of her grandchildren attending the National Center on Poverty Law's Tribute to Sargent Shriver at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA 05/01/03 (Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, UNITED STATES: Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger(2nd from R) and his wife Maria Shriver(R) arrive at the premiere of the Steven Spielberg movie 'Amistad' with family members Bobby Shriver(L), Timothy Shriver(2nd from L) and his wife(C) 08 December in Beverly Hills. The film about a slave ship revolt stars Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins. AFP PHOTO Vince BUCCI/mn (Photo credit should read Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)
"Money doesn't make you happy. I now have $50 million but I was just as happy when I had $48 million."
"My body is like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don't think about it, I just have it."
"The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent."
"Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer."
"I have to give the audiences what they enjoy seeing while I try to bring in a little something new"
"Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength."
"You know, nothing is more important than education, because nowhere are our stakes higher; our future depends on the quality of education of our children today."
"People should make up their own mind about what they think of me."
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Thirteen years ago, three women specifically alleged that Schwarzenegger had groped them and grabbed their breasts, and a fourth woman alleged that he put his hand up her skirt and grabbed her rear end. The claims are not dissimilar to the accusations recently made again Trump, in addition to his predatory dialogue heard on the Access Hollywood tape, in which he candidly discusses groping and grabbing women by the genitals.
Also not unlike Trump, who called the banter "locker room talk" and has denied the groping claims made against him, Schwarzenegger was vague and evasive when the accusations from six different women about his unwanted sexual advances were printed in the Los Angeles Times days before the gubernatorial election. "I don't remember things that I've done or said 20 years ago. I don't remember things that I've done 30 years ago. And I said that many of the things that are in there are not true because that's not my behavior," he said at the time. "And then other things may be true, and in case it is, that's why I said I want to apologize if I offended anyone, because that was not my intention."
Schwarzenegger's personal behavior came under scrutiny again six months after he left office in 2011, when it was revealed he secretly fathered a child with his housekeeper while married to NBC's Maria Shriver.
"It's hard to imagine something more hurtful," says attorney Gloria Allred of the affairs and allegations against Schwarzenegger. Allred represented one of Schwarzenegger's accusers, Gigi Goyette-Jeffers, who claimed she had a relationship with Schwarzenegger while he was married, and Allred sat next to Apprentice season-five contestant Summer Zervos on Oct. 14 as Zervos accused Trump of forcibly kissing her. Allred now questions NBC and Burnett's judgment in hiring the Terminator star given his and Trump's baggage. "One of the challenges is Arnold Schwarzenegger's past, which will always be with him," she says.
See photos of Donald Trump with Mark Burnett, "Apprentice" creator:b
Donald Trump with 'The Apprentice' creator Mark Burnett
Donald Trump with 'The Apprentice' creator Mark Burnett
Donald Trump and Mark Burnett during NBC 2003-2004 Upfront at The Metropolitan Opera House lincoln Center in New York City, New York USA. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
New York real estate mogul Donald Trump (L) and TV producer Mark Burnett talk to reporters, April 8, 2003 in New York City. Burnett is producing a new reality TV show for NBC called, 'The Apprentice,' where the winner will win a six-figure apprenticeship within the Trump Organization. (Photo by Jeff Christensen/WireImage)
Donald Trump, Clive Davis and Mark Burnett during Wyclef Jean Listening Party for His New Album 'The Preachers Son' at Hudson Theater in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by L. Busacca/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - JULY 10: Executive Producers of 'The Apprentice' Donald Trump (L) and Mark Burnett speak with the press at the 2004 TCA Summer Press Tour at the Century Plaza Hotel on June 10, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown)
LOS ANGELES - JULY 10: (L to R) Executive Producers Donald Trump, Mark Burnett, Vice Presidents of the Trump Organization George H. Ross and Carolyn Kepcher of 'The Apprentice' speak with the press at the 2004 TCA Summer Press Tour at the Century Plaza Hotel on June 10, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 19: Producers Mark Burnett and Donald Trump attend the 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 19, 2004 at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Roma Downey, Mark Burnett, Donald Trump and Melania Knauss with guests (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Donald Trump, Billy Bush and Mark Burnett (Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: (L-R) Creator/Executive Producer Mark Burnett, Mr. Trump's fiancee Melania Knauss, and businessman Donald Trump attend the Museum of Television and Radio presents 'The Apprentice' at the Museum of Television and Radio on September 20, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)
Group portrait of, from left, American boxing promoter Don King, businessman Donald Trump, and television producer Mark Burnett as they pose together at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 2005. (Photo by Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Mark Burnett during 'The Apprentice' Finale- Arrivals at California Mart in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Donald Trump and Mark Burnett during Donald Trump Recruiting Search for the Next 'Apprentice' at Universal Studios Hollywood at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage)
Donald Trump and Mark Burnett during Donald Trump Honored With a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Blvd. in front of Hollywood and Highland in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by M. Tran/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: (L-R) Moderator Erin Burnett, Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump, producer Mark Burnett and Ivanka Trump attend the Paley Center for Media's presentation of 'The Apprentice' on September 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Steven A Henry/WireImage)
Donald Trump and Mark Burnett (Photo by Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Mark Burnett and Donald Trump appear on NBC News' 'Today' show -- Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire
The new season of Apprentice already has been shot (Schwarzenegger's catchphrase is being kept a closely held secret), and sources say NBC executives are concerned about the issues surrounding the new star, especially since the network fired Bush for appearing to encourage Trump's talk of predatory behavior. NBC is waiting until the Nov. 8 election to decide the best path for the show, with one option being to delay it. (NBC referred inquiries to Burnett, who did not respond to a request for comment.) Early marketing for the show has played up Schwarzenegger's macho image, showing him riding a white horse and smoking a cigar while seated on a gold chair.
"What they've done is just kind of detoured the conversation, but the same issues are still at play," says a top brand analyst who declined to be named. "It will distract people from the Trump conversation, but I think it potentially could come under further fire because he's been accused of boorish behavior."
Still, insiders believe Arnold and The Donald are different in that Schwarzenegger has apologized for his behavior. And some believe the "swirl" around its new star might give the franchise a ratings boost. TheApprentice has been a dependable performer for NBC. It was not, as Trump has claimed, the highest-rated show on Mondays, but the most recent season in winter 2015 averaged a 2.4 rating in the 18-to-49 demo and 7.6 million viewers, ranking it No. 41 among all programs for the season.
Even if he does not become president, Trump will have no involvement in the show this season, though it's an open question whether he will be paid as an executive producer. He is said to have retained that credit for this season, just as he was credited on the 2005 Martha Stewart-hosted season in which he did not appear. And, of course, he eventually could return to the show in a future season if politics don't pan out (and Burnett and NBC agree to take him back).
For now, NBC's attention is on Arnold. An indication of what's to come may lie with Schwarzenegger's favorability Q Score. In the most recent poll of sentiment from summer 2015, he pulled a 21 positive score and a 26 negative score, better than Trump's single-digit positive and a negative in the 40s when he was on the show but far less favorable than before the 2011 infidelity scandal. "Schwarzenegger is coming into The Apprentice with a much more positive perception than Trump left with," says Q Scores executive vp Henry Schafer.
Adds Allred, "He brings baggage with him. Whether people will care, I don't know."
A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.