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Donald Trump Says He Will Devote ‘Zero Time’ to ‘The Apprentice’ While President

Variety logo Variety 12/10/2016 Seth Kelley
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Donald Trump tweeted Saturday morning that, although he has a “big stake” in “The Apprentice,” he will devote “zero time” to the show after he is sworn into office.

“I have NOTHING to do with The Apprentice except for fact that I conceived it with Mark B & have a big stake in it. Will devote ZERO TIME!” Trump wrote. “Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue – FAKE NEWS!”

The tweets refer to a story first reported exclusively by Variety that Trump will remain an executive producer on NBC’s “New Celebrity Apprentice,” which returns in January hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The report stated that Trump’s per-episode fee is “likely to be in the low five-figures, at minimum.” MGM declined to comment on the financial terms of Trump’s deal.

The initial report sparked concern over potential conflicts of interest including advertising deals for “The Apprentice” and the fact that the media company runs news operations that have, and will continue to, cover Trump’s political career. Efforts urging NBC to drop Trump as an exec producer on the show include a petition launched by the partisan research organization Media Matters.

Schwarzenegger defended Trump’s role in the show during a press conference on Friday. “It’s no different than when I was running for governor and I was governor,” Schwarzenegger said. “My credit on ‘Terminator’ stays the same.”

Kellyanne Conway also defended Trump in an interview with CNN on Friday. “Were we so concerned about the hours and hours and hours spent on the golf course of the current president?” she asked. “I mean presidents have a right to do things in their spare time, in their leisure time.”

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