Friday 26 May 2017

Donald Trump remains executive producer on New Celebrity Apprentice

Donald Trump's continued stake in a TV series is yet another unusual aspect of the election of a businessman and reality star to the presidency (AP)
Donald Trump's continued stake in a TV series is yet another unusual aspect of the election of a businessman and reality star to the presidency (AP)

Donald Trump has gone from the boardroom of NBC's reboot of Celebrity Apprentice but he has kept a business connection to the reality show.

The US president-elect has an executive producer credit on The New Celebrity Apprentice, said Clare Anne Darragh, a spokesman for Apprentice creator Mark Burnett.

She declined further comment on Mr Trump's participation in the show, which was taped last February.

The series debuts in the US on January 2, with Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Mr Trump as host.

Schwarzenegger is an executive producer on the new show, as Mr Trump was on the original.

Mr Trump's continued stake in a TV series is yet another unusual aspect of the election of a businessman and reality star to the presidency.

Questions have been raised on how his extensive holdings may intersect with his actions as president.

Mr Trump has tweeted that he will disclose plans on December 15 to "take me completely out of business operations", without detailing what that means.

He previously said that he plans to hand over management of his business to three of his adult children.

That falls short of what some government ethics experts are pushing him for, which is that he sell his assets and put the money in a "blind trust" overseen by an independent manager not related to him.

In TV, a producer's tasks can range widely, but the credit can also be given as a so-called vanity perk and for compensation without actively working on a project.

Trade publication Variety first reported he had retained the title.

NBC, which declined to comment, previously faced scrutiny over its business dealings with Mr Trump, which included beauty pageant broadcasts as well as The Apprentice.

In July 2015, NBC said it was severing its business ties to Mr Trump following his claims that many undocumented Mexicans immigrants are criminals and rapists.

The network licenses New Celebrity Apprentice from MGM, which produces it.

Burnett, a mega-producer whose other programmes include Survivor and The Voice, also answered for his Trump relationship.

He released a statement last October distancing himself and his wife, actress Roma Downey, from the Republican.

"I am not now and have never been a supporter of Donald Trump's candidacy. I am NOT 'Pro-Trump'.

"Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign," said Burnett, who in 2015 was named president of MGM Television and Digital Group.

The statement followed pressure on Burnett and MGM to make public Apprentice out-takes after an Associated Press report that, during the show's production, Mr Trump repeatedly demeaned women with sexually tinged comments.

That report was followed by the release of an Access Hollywood audio tape with graphic Trump comments.

MGM said in October that it, not Burnett, owns The Apprentice and would honour confidentiality and artists' rights agreements in regard to The Apprentice. No out-takes were released.

AP

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