More boardroom advisors named for Trump-less next phase of 'Celebrity Apprentice'

Just as the nation continues a peaceful transition of power with President-elect Donald Trump taking the reins of the federal government, so too does network television, which played its own role on Trump’s road to the White House.

“The Celebrity Apprentice,” the business-tilted unscripted game show where Trump reigned for 14 seasons on NBC (including its earlier incarnation as “The Apprentice”), named Arnold Schwarzenegger the new host of the competition last fall. Today brings the announcement of six new boardroom advisors for Schwarzenegger, whose tenure as the series’ next telegenic font of business acumen kicks off with the show’s premiere of back-to-back episodes Jan. 2.

Award-winning chef Rocco DiSpirito will be joined by previous “Celebrity Apprentice” winner Leeza Gibbons in the boardroom, along with “Extra” co-host Tracey Edmonds, Justine “iJustine” Ezarik, Gemma Godfrey and Bob Harper. These are in addition to previously announced advisors Warren Buffett, Steve Ballmer, Tyra Banks, Jessica Alba and Schwarzenegger’s nephew,  Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger

Rebranded as “The New Celebrity Apprentice” with the departure of Trump in 2015, the show will shift from its former central location at Trump Tower in Manhattan to L.A.’s Silicon Beach, not far from where Schwarzenegger’s career began as a bodybuilder at a gym in Venice. 

There is some celebrity symmetry at work with the network’s choice of a host to take over for Trump on “Celebrity Apprentice.” Schwarzenegger memorably rode his celebrity status into politics with a successful 2003 run for governor of California in a campaign that was also dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct.

 "Both of them are very skilled at using their celebrity to attract public and media attention," Dan Schnur, director of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics told The Times in 2015 when asked to compare the political ambitions of both stars.

"The difference is Schwarzenegger used his celebrity to leverage interest in his policy agenda.” Schnur said. “Trump, on the other hand, uses outlandish policy statements to leverage interest in himself."

Competitors for the eighth season of “Celebrity Apprentice” include former L.A. Ram Eric Dickerson, Laila Ali, Brooke Burke-Charvet, Boy George, Matt Iseman, Carrie Keagan, Carson Kressley, Lisa Leslie, Jon Lovitz, Vince Neil, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Kyle Richards, Chael Sonnen, Porsha Williams, Ricky Williams and Carnie Wilson. 

Donald Trump remains credited as an executive producer on the show.

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chris.barton@latimes.com

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