Monday, September 14, 2015


I say this as an ordinary TV viewer:  "NBC loves the GOP!"  When news broke yesterday that Arnold Schwarzenegger will replace Donald Trump as host of NBC's CELEBRITY APPRENTICE, a few folks on Twitter felt it was an odd choice.  I think it's a booking that fits well with NBC's history.  What a successful immigrant he is!  Born in Austria, he was a competitive bodybuilder whose muscles and accent got attention.
He took his biceps and recognizable accent to the big screen and proved to have muscle at the box office as Conan the Barbarian...
...and as The Terminator in a money-making film franchise...
...and even as Kindergarten Cop, one of his switches from action movies to comedies.
Arnold became an international movie star.  Like something in a Hollywood screenplay, he married into a political dynasty.  When he said "I do" to NBC journalist Maria Shriver, he married into the Kennedy Clan, famous and famously wealthy Democrats.

NBC  used to have a beaming red GE sign atop 30 Rock.  In those days, there seemed to be a reverence in the  way the network's Today Show did segments on the late President Ronald Reagan.  Reagan was once a Hollywood movie actor who became the TV host of General Electric Theater in the 1950s before he turned to politics.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, like former actor Ronald Reagan, became the Republican Governor of California.
When there was speculation that Schwarzenegger would throw his hat into the political ring and run for that office, news outlets expected him to make the announcement in a press conference.  In fact, one was scheduled.  Then it was cancelled.  Some reporters thought that the actor had changed his mind about politics.  He hadn't.  He made the announcement.  Where?  On NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Sarah Palin was a guest co-host on NBC's Today Show in 2012.  Chris Christie performed in a Saturday Night Live comedy sketch ("Weekend  Update") and he was really good.  So good, in fact, that if the Republic Gov. of New Jersey quit politics, I bet NBC would offer him some kind of on-camera gig.  Recently, Christie was a guest on NBC's Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.  So was Donald Trump.  Remember when Trump kept demanding that President Obama show up his birth certificate and we claiming that Mr. President was not a real American?  I thought that disrespect would get him fired as host of Celebrity Apprentice.  But it didn't.  One more observation about Chris Christie -- if he wasn't in political office and if Arnold was unavailable, I bet NBC would've tapped Christie to host Celebrity Apprentice.  His SNL appearance was a good audition for that spot.

And don't forget those two members of the Bush Family.  Access Hollywood host Billy Bush has two relatives who were the top men in the Oval Office.  Billy was a morning rock radio DJ in Washington, DC.  He didn't have any journalism background, entertainment reporter credits or TV experience.  Nonetheless, he got hired by the local news bosses of WNBC and made his TV debut doing light local lifestyle pieces for WNBC morning news viewers.  Four months later, he's doing pieces for the network's Today Show.  A couple of months after that, he starts doing pieces on NBC's Access Hollywood.  He's now the host of that entertainment news show.  Jenna Bush Hager didn't have TV credentials or a journalism background either.  But that didn't keep her from being hired by NBC News.  She's now a member of the Today Show on-camera team.  Jenna and Billy had the right stuff for NBC.

That's why the Schwarzenegger hiring is not strange to me.  That's my observation as an ordinary viewer who has watched NBC for a long, long time and noticed those things.  We may not have seen it coming, but he's the kind of talent the network would dig.  Will he say to good apprentices "You'll be back" and will he say to the bad ones "You're...terminated"?  We'll have to watch and see.

Actor Elliott Gould hit a homer as one of the several actors who played private eye Philip Marlowe onscreen.  He played Marlowe in the Southern California of the 1970s, the California with Ronald Reagan as the state's governor.  There's talk about Gov. Reagan in Robert Altman's 1973 mystery, The Long Goodbye.  In one scene with mention of Gov. Reagan, who could've known at the time that one of the extras would be a major movie star in the 1980s and was himself the future governor of California?  Take a look.
The hiring of Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the new host of Celebrity Apprentice makes perfect sense for NBC.  Personally, I hoped the network would replace Donald Trump with a comedian George Lopez.  But that's just me.

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