Arnold Schwarzenegger is quitting "The Celebrity Apprentice" after hosting it for one season, the actor and former politician announced on March 3.
"I learned a lot, I had a great time, it was a really great opportunity," Schwarzenegger told Empire. "But under the circumstances I don't want to do it again."
The "Terminator" actor said that he "loved every second" of working with NBC and producer Mark Burnett, but the political climate surrounding the show set the stage for controversy and low ratings.
"Everyone -- from the celebrities to the crew to the marketing department -- was straight 10, and I would absolutely work with all of them again on a show that doesn't have this baggage," Schwarzenegger said in a statement, according to Page Six.
The former California governor told Empire that "half the people" boycotted the show when they learned that President Donald Trump was still an executive producer and was still getting paid for it.
"It's not about the show, because everyone I ran into came up to me and said 'I love the show... but I turned it off because as soon as I read Trump's name I'm outta there!'" explained the Austrian former bodybuilder. "NBC did everything they could to promote the show and Mark Burnett did a fantastic job. No one really knew that this was going to happen and I think that everyone was caught off guard."
Indeed, before the new host's departure, the program was already facing an uphill battle, with full six out of 12 sponsors saying that they would not be returning after people involved in the #GrabYourWallet campaign have threatened to boycott them for supporting Trump, notes The Wrap. None of the companies who pulled out of the show explicitly stated that they did so because of Trump, who would remain on as an executive producer if the show is greenlit for another season.
"Even if asked [to do it again] I would decline," said Schwarzenegger, according to Empire. "With Trump being involved in the show people have a bad taste and don't want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show. It's a very divisive period now and I think this show got caught up in all that division."
Trump and Schwarzenegger feuded earlier in 2017 over the show's ratings, which Trump said at the National Prayer Breakfast "went right down the tubes" and have "been a total disaster" since his departure, notes Page Six.
Schwarzenegger fired back on Twitter with a suggestion that the pair "switch jobs."
"You take over TV because you're such an expert in ratings and I take over your job and people can finally sleep comfortably,” said the "Predator" star.