Arnold Schwarzenegger on new 'Apprentice' gig, uproar over Trump's EP credit, secretive catchphrase

Three weeks out from its Jan. 2 season premiere, The Celebrity Apprentice understandably is having trouble escaping the shadow of its 11-year host. NBC's longest-running reality franchise, now fronted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, returns the same month that the man who made it a hit is scheduled to be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Much to NBC brass' likely chagrin, it was revealed Dec. 8 that Donald Trump will retain an executive producer credit and profit participation on the MGM- and Mark Burnett-produced Apprentice. Trump's camp even said he might take a role in the show, though the president-elect blasted that suggestion (which originated with adviser Kellyanne Conway) during a Dec. 10 Twitter outburst.

Schwarzenegger, who was vocal in his lack of support for his fellow Republican, bats off the controversy. "I come from a marketing mentality, and the most important thing is that every American knows this show is coming on," he says. "I hope everyone chills and just sees the show for what it is."

See photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger through the years:

Arnold Schwarzenegger through the years
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Arnold Schwarzenegger through the years
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger poses at a premiere for "The 15:17 to Paris" in Burbank, California, U.S., February 5, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
"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)
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|color, horizontal, exterior, center, lifestyle, children, doll, recreation, weekend, living, menuez, children, girl, doll, toy, caucasian, african american, people, playing, ribbon, blue, green, red, brown, pink|
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."
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz talks to actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in his office in Vienna, Austria January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
Arnold Schwarzenegger helps Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche at a news conference to unveil new Mercedes G-Class models at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton

The pair first starred in the franchise in 1984.

Linda Hamilton und Arnold Schwarzenegger im Jahr 2984 (Bild: ddp images)

The 69-year-old former California governor, who like Trump was the subject of sexual assault allegations during his own 2003 political campaign, has avoided the subject of Apprentice's association with Trump, though he has said he always was aware of it ("I made royalties" as governor, he noted during a Dec. 9 press event for the show). But combine the current spotlight on the show with Trump's affinity for social media and penchant for watching programming related to him, and this awkward scenario indeed could work in Schwarzenegger's and NBC's favor. Trump's most recent Apprentice season averaged an impressive 2.4 rating among adults 18-to-49 and 7.6 million viewers — and that was with a fraction of the attention now being showered on the show.

Read more: New 'Apprentice' Host Schwarzenegger on Trump: "I Made Royalties" When Serving as Governor

NBC hopes to further build buzz by playing one hand close to the vest: Schwarzenegger's version of "You're fired," Trump's indelible diss for 14 seasons, has yet to be revealed. "We narrowed it down to like eight of my sayings from the movies and one other option, but even I don't know yet," says Schwarzenegger. Multiple endings were shot for every episode (filming on the Marina del Rey set wrapped in March for all but the live finale), and NBC reality chief Paul Telegdy has gone on record saying heads will roll if the selection leaks before its television debut.

Photographed by Koury Angelo

The "Governator" is said to have further distanced himself from Trump by cultivating a friendly atmosphere on set. But, true to Apprentice tradition, the camaraderie doesn't necessarily translate to the screen as one turn of phrase on the show is not up for debate. "Out on the street, you can call me Arnold," he says with a smile. "But in the boardroom, it's Governor Schwarzenegger."

Read more: Arnold Schwarzenegger Says Trump "Has No Interest in Being Involved" With 'Apprentice,' Would Still Take His Advice

President-elect Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to spend as much time as possible at his personal residences — namely his penthouse suite at Manhattan's Trump Tower — during his time in office. But what happens when President Trump comes to L.A.? In 2007, Trump paid $7 million for a 5,395-square-foot Colonial at the corner of Canon Drive and Sunset Boulevard (in the one precinct on L.A.'s Westside that voted for him), where Michael Wolff interviewed him for THR in May.

See photos of the "Celebrity Apprentice" cast:

Celebrity Apprentice - Arnold's Cast
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Celebrity Apprentice - Arnold's Cast
ROME, ITALY - JANUARY 25: Actor Arnold Schwarzengger attends the 'The Last Stand' photocall at Hassler Hotel on January 25, 2013 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Leeza Gibbons attends AOL Build Series at AOL HQ on November 15, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 28: Tracy Edmonds at the 2015 BET Awards press room on June 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Prince Williams/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Bob Harper attends 'Disaster!' Broadway opening night at Nederlander Theatre on March 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/Getty Images)
Investor Warren Buffett speaks during the 'United State of Women Summit' at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, June 14, 2016. / AFP / YURI GRIPAS (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Supermodel Tyra Banks attends Cosmopolitan Fun Fearless Money 2016 on September 24, 2016 at Cedar Lake in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Cosmopolitan)
Jessica Alba attends the fifth annual Baby2Baby gala honoring Jennifer Garner at 3Labs in Culver City, on November 12, 2016. / AFP / CHRIS DELMAS (Photo credit should read CHRIS DELMAS/AFP/Getty Images)
KITZBUEHEL, AUSTRIA - JANUARY 22: Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger, nephew of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Statham attend the AUDI Night 2016 during Hahnenkamm Race Weekend on January 22, 2016 in Kitzbuehel, Austria. (Photo by Gisela Schober/Getty Images)

On short trips to L.A., he reportedly opts for a bungalow at the nearby Beverly Hills Hotel. Were he as president to bunk at his five-bedroom house, security could turn one of Beverly Hills' busiest corners into a logistical hellscape. Neighbors of President Obama's Hyde Park home in Chicago contended with barricades and guards 24 hours a day.

Photographed by Koury Angelo

A spokesperson for the Beverly Hills Police Department tells THR that presidential security measures are determined by the Secret Service and that BHPD had received no notifications regarding the home. A spokesperson for the Secret Service had no comment on "our protective measures." Monique Voyagis, a Trump supporter and 12-year resident of Beverly Hills, was pleased to learn of its high-profile owner. She says Beverly Hills residents are used to POTUS-induced traffic jams. And if Trump's home should become a flashpoint for protests? "I doubt it," says Voyagis. "Beverly Hills people are quite reserved."

This story first appeared in the Jan. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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