NBC is currently considering its options for “Celebrity Apprentice” on the heels of Donald Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that he will be running for president.
“Once Donald Trump becomes an officially filed candidate, he will likely have to give up his TV show,” Fordham University’s professor of media and communications, Paul Levinso, explains to Business Insider. “In the past, the custom has been for Presidential candidates to leave their television shows when even seriously thinking about a run for office, as Mike Huckabee did on Fox News in January.”
He continued, “There’s no hard law that requires candidates to do this, however. But NBC would likely insist that he give up ‘The Apprentice’ once he formally files as a candidate, and possibly even before then.”
At the top of the list for the broadcast network is figuring out how to move forward with the show without its figurehead or see how long Trump’s run actually lasts. In such case, they can move forward as necessary.
“We will re-evaluate Trump’s role as host of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ should it become necessary, as we are committed to this franchise,” NBC said in a statement to Business Insider.
NBC renewed “Celebrity Apprentice in February for an eighth season or a 15th season if you count the entire “Apprentice” run. Last season, in which on-air personality Leeza Gibbons triumphed, “Celebrity Apprentice” averaged 7.6 million viewers — its best run since 2012.
While TMZ reported that NBC will simply put the show on hiatus until Trump becomes available again, that would be highly unusual.
Deadline, which reports that Trump’s children will replace him on Season 15, seems the more likely scenario for NBC. Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., and Eric Trump have alternately served as board members on the show for several seasons.
It’s not the ideal scenario as the last time “Apprentice” was hosted by someone other Donald Trump, 2005’s “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” it premiered to just 7.1 million viewers or half Trump’s “Apprentice” viewership at the time.
But, the chance that NBC will walk away from the show while Trump campaigns seems unlikely.
This isn’t the first time NBC was faced with this dilemma. Trump had at a presidential run in 2012, but ultimately decided against it.
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