Asked whether he thought that the president-elect should step down from his role as executive producer of the hit NBC series, Schwarzenegger, 69, defended the real estate mogul and even suggested he’d like to work with him.
“I don’t think that he is going to be cohosting with me, even though maybe it’d be fun to have him as a guest adviser or something like this if he has the time,” the new host said. “I don’t know if he has time or not.”
The former governor of California likened Trump’s decision to remain an executive producer on the show to his own retention of credits in the movies that he made prior to his political career.
“I think that I knew that from the beginning that he’s an executive producer on the show,” he said. “It was on the credit when you watch the show, and I watched, I would say, probably 60 percent of all the shows before I took on this challenge [as host], so it’s no different than when I was running for governor and I became governor. My credit starring in Terminator still said Schwarzenegger and everything stayed the same and I continued getting royalties and all that stuff.”
On Thursday, December 8, Variety reported that the billionaire, 70, would retain his executive producer credit on the show and would therefore also continue to rake in a per-episode fee, “likely to be in the low five figures, at minimum.”
One day later, Trump’s former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, sat down with CNN to defend the president-elect’s controversial decision, noting that he would do the show in his “spare time.”
“It certainly seems like there is a lot of time to do [things] based on recent precedent while you’re president of the United States,” she said, referring to President Obama. “But the point is the same. Whether it’s President Obama or President Donald Trump, the idea that these men are going to be all work and nothing else all the time is just unrealistic because it’s never happened in our lifetimes.”
At Friday’s press conference, Schwarzenegger similarly backed Trump’s decision, and praised the former Celebrity Apprentice host for setting a high bar for the job.
“It was big shoes to fill because inevitably when you have a season that is going on for 15 times, 15 seasons, you have a great show,” he said. “You have a great concept, you have great performances, great stars and all this stuff, so he did a great job and that’s why I was attracted to the show and I watched the show myself. So now I am the new boss, I am the new host, and I hope that, you know, I can match up to what he has done and continue on with a great successful show.”