Why Did The Apprentice Really Come To An End?

As many Americans will recall, before Donald Trump was President of the United States, he was most notable for being a New York City-based businessman and reality TV host. Among these reality TV shows was, of course, "The Apprentice," an NBC series created by Mark Burnett in 2004. Trump served as the host and executive producer of the series until 2015, when he began his run for president.

At the time, it seemed as though NBC had also canceled the show altogether; the 14th season aired in early 2015, and the iconic show did not return for another two years, when all-star actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hosted its 15th — widely marketed as "The New Celebrity Apprentice" — in early 2017. However, some fans might wonder, why did the iconic reality competition series really come to an end? Well, given the circumstances of the time, it was almost an inevitability. 

NBC fired Donald Trump amidst controversial statements he made on the presidential campaign

As many followers of the former president will recall, Donald Trump immediately went from reality TV host to politician in June 2015, when he set off his 2016 presidential campaign with an announcement at Manhattan's Trump Tower. During the announcement, the then-television personality made a number of controversial statements, including that Mexican immigrants coming across the southern border were "rapists" and "criminals," and that the United States government should construct a nearly 2,000 mile-long wall to fend off these illegal migrants. 

Most Americans did not take kindly to these comments, denouncing them as racist and false, and Trump saw an extraordinary backlash against him across the country (while at the same time cementing his to-be formidable base). 

This led to NBC firing Trump on June 29, 2015 — about two weeks after his infamous announcement. "At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values," the company said in a statement at the time (via PBS). "Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump." Of course, Trump would never return to the network, though NBC cutting ties with him likely wouldn't have made a difference, as the former businessman subsequently committed himself entirely to politics. 

The 15th season of The Apprentice did not go well

As "The Apprentice" fans will remember, NBC attempted a revival of the series in 2017, this time with Arnold Schwarzenegger as host. It ran for 13 episodes in January and February of 2017, and also served as the eighth edition of "The Celebrity Apprentice." It was won by "American Ninja Warrior" host Matt Iseman, who raised over half a million for his charity, the Arthritis Foundation. 

However, NBC's attempts at a revival fell flat, and Season 15 all but assured that "The Apprentice" would finally be coming to an end for good. Ratings fell drastically, per Vulture, and the show was poorly received by critics. Schwarzenegger himself resigned from the series a month after it ended, saying in a statement that he wished to remove himself from the "baggage" the show had. 

In August of that year, NBC Entertainment head Bob Greenblatt said that the network did not have "any plans" to revive the series, per the The Hollywood Reporter, effectively rendering it over. In the end, it's indeed unlikely that a show with the "baggage" of the former president will ever be brought back to the screen.