LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Variety is reporting that president-elect Donald Trump is keeping his title as executive producer on the show “Celebrity Apprentice” when it returns to the airwaves next month.
The show returns to NBC on January 2 with new host Arnold Schwarzenegger.READ MORE: Palisades Fire: Hundreds Under Evacuation, 1 Detained For Questioning In Arson Investigation
Variety says in the credit sequence, Trump’s name will air after that of “Apprentice” creator Mark Burnett and before Schwarzenegger, who is also an exec producer of the series.
Variety’s Managing Editor for Television, Cynthia Littleton, writes the “larger issue for MGM, NBC, and the White House is the payment that Trump will receive for the series.”
It’s unclear what his per-episode fee will be, but it is likely to be in the low five-figures, Producer’s Guild minimum.
NBC has ordered eight episodes of “The New Celebrity Apprentice.” Trump’s fees will be paid through MGM, the production entity on the show, not NBC, Variety reported.
CBS2’s Rachel Kim says a sitting president being on the payroll of a TV show is new ground the country has never dealt with before. Many call it a clear conflict of interest.
The move is raising both eyebrows and concerns.
“I can’t think of a situation where a sitting president has continued to have a credit on an ongoing TV series,” said Ted Johnson, a senior editor of Variety.READ MORE: Israel Continues Air Assault On Gaza Strip, Almost 200 Palestinians Killed
Many say this move is, at best, unusual, since NBC cut all business ties with Trump not long after his campaign started. Controversial and incendiary comments he made about Mexican immigrants further drove a wedge in their long-partnership.
There were also the crude comments about women and their genitalia that surfaced from outtakes from a 2005 interview Trump did with “Access Hollywood.”
Dr. Fernando Guerra, a political science professor at Loyola Marymount University, says there are clear conflicts of interest.
“There’s a conflict in terms of a news organization like NBC having to deal with him. He’ll say they’re not dealing with him directly, that they’re dealing with the production company MGM, that he doesn’t have complete control over that. But nonetheless, NBC knows who will be making money, the president knows what company will be paying him, again, a major conflict. Not necessary, why he’s doing this, it’s hard to imagine.”
He calls what Trump is doing “inappropriate.”
He added, “Every past president has given up all of their activities. Every moment, every day is so important. To be able to pay attention to every detail with his new job. It just doesn’t leave room for that type of activity.”
The next season’s cast includes Boy George, Carnie Wilson, Laila Ali, Carson Kressley, “Real Housewives” Kyle Richards & Porsha Williams and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi.MORE NEWS: Man Shot, Killed Outside Hacienda Heights Gas Station