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‘Celebrity Apprentice’ to Return to NBC Without Donald Trump

“The Celebrity Apprentice” will return without Donald Trump, but it won’t be for some time.

The show’s return date is in flux, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt confirmed on Thursday at the Television Critics’ Assn. press tour at the Beverly Hilton. The series will not air in the coming season, he said.

At present, NBC is searching for a new host to replace Trump, who is in the midst of campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination. Greenblatt insisted the new host has not yet been chosen. “Were obviously looking for a host of that show that will make noise and will be a big personality,” he said. “There are a few people out there that fit that bill.”

The NBC prez also commented on Trump’s success on “Celebrity Apprentice,” and more recently, in the world of political buzz.

“I guess people are just, in the political world, looking for somebody who just speaks their mind, regardless of anything else. He does that. Whether you agree with anything he says, he says it without any kind of filter … there’s probably something refreshing about that,” Greenblatt said. “I think at some point, you have to look at the message.”

“The world likes a star, and he’s a star,” Greenblatt recognized, calling Trump an “effusive” man.

The network exec also gave kudos to Trump for his professionalism when they worked on “Apprentice” together. “We weren’t in any adversarial position. There were no controversies,” he said. “He worked really closely with Mark Burnett. It was a congenial, really great relationship.”

As for Trump’s Miss Universe Organization, which infamously switched Miss USA over to Reelz for this past pageant’s telecast, Greenblatt confirmed that NBC is “almost done” exiting their partnership with the Trump Organization on the franchise. NBC and Univision hastily dropped this year’s Miss USA telecast in July after Donald Trump made disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants. That sparked a lawsuit from Trump against Univision and broadsides against NBC from Trump.

Despite the strain over Miss USA, Greenblatt said there was no “ban” at NBC on working with Trump in the future.

“I don’t think somebody who is running for president and might possibly be the next leader of the free world should be banned from activity with NBC,” Greenblatt said, but not without noting, “At the moment, we’re sort of separated.”

Pressing for a firm answer, press members asked Greenblatt if there’s any chance Trump could ever return to “Celebrity Apprentice.”

“I’m going to end this with two words,” he said. “Absolutely not.”

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