The Celebrity Apprentice is an American television reality competition series. It is a variation of The Apprentice series which was hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2017 and was originally hosted by Donald Trump. Like its precursor, the show's opening theme song is "For the Love of Money" by The O'Jays. Unlike its precursor, however, Celebrity Apprentice consists of celebrities as competing apprentices rather than unknowns. Some of the celebrities are relatively current while others tend to be those who have been out of the public eye for some time. All of them are competing to win money for a charitable organization of their choice. The celebrities come from a wide variety of different fields in the media: sitcoms, professional sports, music industry, reality television, radio, and other backgrounds.
The Celebrity Apprentice is linked in seasons to its precursor TV show, The Apprentice, which consists of seasons one to six and season ten. The Celebrity Apprentice consists of seasons seven to nine and eleven onward.
The format of The Celebrity Apprentice follows that of the original The Apprentice, outside of living arrangements; there is no communal living space, and celebrities are not required to live in the city during filming, allowing them to maintain their own appearance schedule which may cause them to miss out on tasks at times. The two teams are given separate suites near the boardroom which they can use for planning and other activities related to the tasks.
Additionally, the celebrities as contestants are not vying for a job, but instead each has selected a charity that they are playing for. The winner of each season gets a large donation made to that charity by the host, but in addition, winning project managers may also receive additional charity money by winning a task, either as a fixed amount set by the host and/or a participating business, or by the total charitable take they made on the task. The host also has discretion to provide charity funds to eliminated celebrities as a consolation prize.
On July 6, 2007, it was announced that The Apprentice had been renewed for a seventh season, with a possibility of an eighth. In an effort to revitalize interest in the series, season seven featured celebrities playing the game to raise money for charities, going under the name The Celebrity Apprentice as opposed to continuing under The Apprentice format. British tabloid editor Piers Morgan was declared the winner of that season. On January 28, 2008, NBC confirmed that season eight would feature celebrities playing the game to raise money for charity. That season premiered in March 2009, and resulted in a win for comedian Joan Rivers.
On March 17, 2010, NBC officially stated that a new season of the original Apprentice would be brought back, with the explanation that regular working people would again attract audiences in light of the damaged U.S. economy. That season premiered September 16, 2010. This time the ratings were low, and both Trump and Producer Mark Burnett returned to the 'Celebrity' format, which saw John Rich win in season four. In season five, late night host Arsenio Hall won. In season six, the first all-star season took place, bringing back 14 of the most memorable celebrities to compete for the first title of the All-Star Celebrity Apprentice, which country singer Trace Adkins won. In season seven, Donald Trump returned the show to the regular Celebrity Apprentice format; TV anchor and talk show host Leeza Gibbons won the season.
After Trump announced his intentions to run for President of the United States in the 2016 election in 2015, NBC began to re-evaluate their business relationship with Trump and whether he could still be host of The Apprentice series. NBC stated that they opted to sever their business ties with Trump following politically-charged comments that Trump made in June 2015, and began seeking a new host for the show. However, Trump stated that it was his decision to end the relationship with NBC "out of respect", even though he had been approached by Burnett and NBC to host two more seasons of the show just prior to his presidential bid. In an April 2016 interview, Trump revealed he earned about $213 million from the show over its 14 seasons.
In September 2015, NBC announced that actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger would become the new host of The Celebrity Apprentice to premiere during the 2016–17 television season. The rebooted series, The New Celebrity Apprentice first broadcast on January 2, 2017. Trump will remain credited as an Executive Producer to the show, including what is estimated as a five-figure per-show fee as well as ongoing profits from the franchise through MGM, the production entity for the show.
On March 3, 2017, NBC announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped down as host of The Celebrity Apprentice, leaving the show's future up in the air. Schwarzenegger cited poor ratings as well as his feud with President Trump as factors in his decision.
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of The Celebrity Apprentice on NBC. Note: Given that the show is a sequel television series, the below "statistics by season" chart is a continuation from its precursor's (The Apprentice) "statistics by season" chart. Note as well that season 10 is omitted from the chart below as the show reverted to The Apprentice for that season.
|Season||Host||Winner||Winner's charity||Time slot||Season premiere||Season finale||TV season||Ranking||Viewers
|7||Donald Trump||Piers Morgan||Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund||Thursday
|January 3, 2008||March 27, 2008||2007–08||48||11.0||12.1|
|8||Joan Rivers||God's Love We Deliver||Sunday
|March 1, 2009||May 10, 2009||2008–09||52||9.0||8.7|
|9||Bret Michaels||American Diabetes Association||March 14, 2010||May 23, 2010||2009-10||59||7.4||9.3|
|11||John Rich||St. Jude Children's Research Hospital||March 6, 2011||May 22, 2011||2010–11||46||8.8||8.3|
|12||Arsenio Hall||Magic Johnson Foundation||February 19, 2012||May 20, 2012||2011–12||73||7.1||6.9|
|13||Trace Adkins||American Red Cross||March 3, 2013||May 19, 2013||2012–13||84||5.6||5.3|
|14||Leeza Gibbons||Leeza's Care Connection||Monday
|January 4, 2015||February 16, 2015||2014–15||67||7.6||6.1|
|15||Arnold Schwarzenegger||Matt Iseman||Arthritis Foundation||January 2, 2017||February 13, 2017||2016–17||90||4.8||3.5|
Note: Winners are indicated in Bold; second-place finishers are indicated in Italics.
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