Even President Donald Trump’s prayers couldn’t secure a ratings bump for Arnold Schwarzenegger and NBC’s New Celebrity Apprentice.
The reality TV show ended its latest seven-episode season on a low note, drawing only 3.45 million viewers in a season finale that NBC shortened from the show’s typical two-hour runtime to just one hour on Monday night, according to Nielsen. Schwarzenegger wrapped up his first season hosting the show in the truncated season finale, which pulled the Apprentice‘s average nightly viewership below 4 million for the season.
Those numbers fall well short of the previous Apprentice season in 2015—the final season hosted by Trump, who now serves as an executive producer on the show—when the program averaged more than 7.6 million nightly viewers. (The lowest-rated Apprentice season with Trump as host came in 2011, when the show averaged 4.6 million nightly viewers.) The new iteration of the Apprentice with Schwarzenegger also posted disappointing ratings in the coveted demographic of adults aged 18 to 49, with The Hollywood Reporter noting that the show’s ratings in that demo dipped 42% in comparison with the 2015 season.
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Earlier this month, Trump used the occasion of the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. to mockingly “pray” for the show and Schwarzenegger in light of the ratings decline. It wasn’t the first time this season that Trump took a shot at his Apprentice replacement, while Schwarzenegger responded with his own video message suggesting that he and Trump “switch jobs.”
It is a bit confusing that Trump insists on basking in the fact that the New Celebrity Apprentice‘s ratings are lower than his own while he hosted the show, especially considering that the president continues to hold a sizable stake in the series—a stake that some argue is a conflict of interest. Then again, Trump has made it clear over the years how much he cares about TV ratings.
NBC has not yet committed to bringing back Schwarzenegger for another run as host of the reality show after a season that failed to generate substantial ratings since it premiered last month. The show struggled to compete against reality TV rival (and ratings powerhouse) The Bachelor on ABC. Monday night’s one-hour season finale drew less than half of the 7.5 million viewers that The Bachelor averaged during its latest two-hour episode.