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Hasta la vista Donald, I'm boss now - New Celebrity Apprentice terminator Arnie

Donald Trump's elevation from Celebrity Apprentice host to US president-elect has created an opening for Arnold Schwarzenegger to become a reality TV star in an epic mishmash of politics and stardom.

To further complicate matters, billionaire businessman Mr Trump retains a producing stake in The New Celebrity Apprentice - b ut Terminator star and former California governor Schwarzenegger says viewers will soon find out who's the boss when the revamped reality series debuts on Monday on NBC.

"The show is Arnold. The other one was Trump. I have a different personality and I do everything kind of lighthearted," said Schwarzenegger.

He was sanguine about whether the Trump connection, past or present, may dissuade some viewers from tuning in after the bitterly divisive US presidential election. Schwarzenegger, a moderate Republican, said in an October statement that he would not vote for Mr Trump, calling it a choice of "your country over your party".

"People always like to associate themselves with a winner, and he won, so I think that's a big plus for the show," Schwarzenegger said. Besides, he added: "I never concern myself over things I have no control over.

"When we did the show, we didn't do it thinking about, 'Is Trump going to win? What does it mean he was the host of the show?' None of it."

The catchphrase Schwarzenegger will use in place of the Trump "You're fired!" to banish contestants has been kept under wraps. His famous action movie lines could provide options, whether "Hasta la vista, baby" or the reworked "You won't be back".

Also to be discovered is Mr Trump's reaction to the show minus him and whether he will tweet a critique of Schwarzenegger's version.

Contestant Laila Ali, boxing champion and daughter of the late Muhammad Ali, did consider whether some might vote against watching Celebrity Apprentice because of Mr Trump.

"It's definitely something I thought about and I'm hoping that doesn't happen because it's a whole new show. But I could definitely see certain people feeling that way," she said.

"We shot the show a long time ago (last February) and things weren't where they are now."

She hopes viewers will "take it for what it is", entertainment in which money won by its celebrity competitors goes to charity - in Ali's case, the Women's Sports Foundation.

Other contenders include Boy George, Eric Dickerson, Vince Neil, Jon Lovitz, Carson Kressley, Carnie Wilson and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi. Among the advisers are heavyweights Warren Buffett and Steve Ballmer.

For NBC, its long and ultimately fraught relationship with Mr Trump has caused the network to tread carefully around his continued off-camera link to The New Celebrity Apprentice. NBC licenses the show from MGM, the studio that produces it.

In early 2015, while exploring a run for the Republican nomination, Mr Trump said he would not renew his Apprentice contract and s everal months later NBC said it was cutting business ties with the then-presidential candidate because of comments he made about Mexican immigrants while announcing his campaign.

In dropping the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants that had been a joint venture between NBC and Mr Trump, the network said "respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values".

But that did not stop NBC's Saturday Night Live from bringing Mr Trump on as a ratings-boosting host in November 2015.

Earlier this month the network left it to Apprentice franchise creator Mark Burnett, now an executive with MGM, to confirm reports that Mr Trump still had a stake in the series. The network has refused to comment further.

AP

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