The New Celebrity Apprentice came and went with little fanfare on NBC. In fact, the finale for the new version of the NBC staple aired just a couple of days ago, in a short-one hour episode that only managed a .9 rating in the 18-49 demographic. While the show averaged about a 1.1 for the whole of Season 8 (or Season 15, depending on how you look at it), there's no question the numbers were down from Donald Trump's version of the long-running show. There are actually several reasons why the series may have seen a ratings slump.
First and foremost, there's no question that The Apprentice is an aging franchise. The New Celebrity Apprentice marked the fifteenth season of the format, albeit the first starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and the eighth featuring celebrities. In the current ratings climate, some shows are still doing well, but the general rule with reality shows is that the longer a show has been on the air, the lower its ratings tend to be. The Celebrity Apprentice had seen a decline in the ratings over the years, culminating in this season's numbers, which were the lowest yet.
Secondly, The Celebrity Apprentice had way too long of a gap between seasons. Following the announcement that Donald Trump was running for President, the man's relationship with NBC deteriorated for a number of reasons, and the network terminated Trump. While NBC began looking for a replacement host soon after, it took some time for Season 8 to come together and then NBC held the show until midseason on the schedule. Season 7 kicked off in January of 2015, so it was two years between Season 7 and Season 8. That's a gap that Sherlock might be able to get away with, but not all shows can.
Variety also reports that Donald Trump himself may have caused some viewers to turn away from the show. A few months ago, we learned that Donald Trump was still earning a producing credit on The New Celebrity Apprentice. Arnold Schwarzenegger later stated he didn't actually work with the politician when the show was filming months ago, but whether the credit actually meant more than a financial gain for the former host, it certainly made headlines, and not necessarily in a way that NBC might want.
Donald Trump was in his element on The Apprentice, and when he was the face of the reality TV franchise, he was pretty entertaining TV. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a lot more professional, and The New Celebrity Apprentice was not quite the circus that the original version was. Even the contestants were a little bit lackluster this time around, so there really are numerous reasons the ratings were down. Besides, I really missed the occasional appearance of George Ross.
We'll let you know as soon as NBC makes a decision about The New Celebrity Apprentice Season 9. In the meantime, take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule.