The absence of Donald Trump as the boss on Celebrity Apprentice has left a major hole in the show's ratings.
With Arnold Schwarzenegger stepping in as host, the NBC’s New Celebrity Apprentice aired to poor ratings Monday night with an average of only 4.9 million viewers and a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demo, according to The Hollywood Reporter, a 35 percent drop from last year's premiere with Trump.
Despite an extensive marketing campaign using every Schwarzenegger trait in his arsenal – cigars, "you're terminated" in place of "you're fired," and macho swagger – the premiere still couldn't pull in the viewers to put it over the top.
The 21st season premiere of ABC's The Bachelor came out the strongest, earning a 2.2 rating in the key demo and 6.6 million viewers.
Schwarzenegger's presence didn't fair well with critics either. According to New York Times television critic Mike Hale, the last action hero's "cautiousness and rigidity" didn't dazzle the senses.
"With Mr. Schwarzenegger, there’s no joy, just a — you’ll pardon the word — robotic professionalism," Hale wrote. "His rebukes don’t have enough bite, his stares don’t have enough menace."
Washington Post‘s Hank Stuever wrote that the show suffers from failing to reinvent itself.
Subsequent weeks will tell if The New Celebrity Apprentice will be hearing the words "You're Terminated" from the execs at NBC.