UPDATE with Donald Trump reaction: The GOP presidential race frontrunner has tweeted his support of The Governator as his replacement on NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice:

Previously: NBC is replacing Donald Trump with a politician on Celebrity Apprentice.

On the eve of Trump, improbable star of this presidential election cycle, taking center stage at Wednesday’s GOP debate on CNN, NBC said that Arnold Schwarzenegger, aka The Governator, is taking over for Trump as chief mentor/executioner on its reality competition series when it returns to the network for the 2016-2017 season.

8 months
You are being scheduled for being obsolete. I'll be back.
John Ray
9 months
NBC will regret this hire. Arnold is an aging pathetic has-been who still thinks he's a Superstar....
9 months
Trump on the other hand was given a fortune of 200 million dollars to play with. Arnold...

The news triggered a stampede of tweets about Trump’s show catchphrase being replaced by “You’re terminated!” or “You will not be back!”

Schwarzenegger did not address that possibility, instead saying in a statement he has “always been a huge fan of The Celebrity Apprentice and the way it showcases the challenges and triumphs of business and teamwork,” adding, “I am thrilled to bring my experience to the boardroom and to continue to raise millions for charity. Let’s get started!”

"Celebrity Apprentice" Red Carpet EventTrump, of course, months back told NBC he could not return to the series for its next season, because he’s making a play for the White House. He also had some things to say about people coming to the U.S. via our southern border that caused NBC to dump plans to broadcast the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which it co-owned with Trump’s organization, and to announce it would sever its ties with Trump, who responded that he would see NBC in court. But the two parties mediated their way out of that relationship and called a truce, just in time for Trump to make his triumphant return to NBC, as guest on Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on September 11.

In today’s announcement, NBC said the Mark Burnett-produced franchise is entering a “new phase.”

Wondering why Arnold’s qualified? NBC’s glad you asked, noting Schwarzenegger served two terms as governor of California, managing more than 300,000 state employees and a state budget in the hundreds of billions. He has successfully invested in both real estate and sports franchises, and is known to millions globally for his starring role in the Terminator film franchise. His films, over a six-decade career, have grossed billions of dollars in worldwide box office, NBC said.

The former governor will replace Trump who, NBC noted, in his role as host of the seven seasons of The Celebrity Apprentice helped raise more than $15 million for charity.

From NBC’s announcement:

“We are thrilled to be opening a powerful new chapter in the story of the ‘Apprentice’ franchise,” said Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Late Night Programming, NBC Entertainment. “Arnold Schwarzenegger is the epitome of a global brand in entertainment and business, and his accomplishments in the political arena speak for themselves. It was Arnold’s personal passion for the format that Mark Burnett and Donald Trump built over the last decade, as well as his fresh take on how to take it to new heights for today’s audiences, that made him the man to hire. ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ … will be back!”

“The Apprentice” franchise is one of the most successful reality formats in television history. In “The Celebrity Apprentice,” business-savvy celebrity contestants work in teams and are asked to perform various tasks and win challenges, all the while employing a business model that promotes teamwork and, hopefully, ends with a financially successful outcome – all for a worthy charity. Contestants are subjected to long hours, grueling deadlines, intellectual challenges, personality clashes and intense scrutiny. Each task will end in the boardroom, where contestants must account for their actions or risk being “fired” by the host until one remains.

“After leaving the show to run for political office, Donald made it clear that he wanted ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ to be able to continue to raise millions of dollars annually for worthy causes, and now NBC and I have found an amazing new leader to do just that,” said executive producer Mark Burnett. “Gov. Schwarzenegger will use his vast and highly successful business, political and media experience to drive this hit franchise to new heights.”

Previous “Celebrity Apprentice” winners include Joan Rivers, Piers Morgan, Bret Michaels, Trace Adkins, Arsenio Hall, John Rich and Leeza Gibbons.

Always politically active, Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy for governor of California on Aug. 6, 2003 on the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Two months later he was elected governor in a recall of Gov. Gray Davis and was then re-elected for a second time in 2006.

As governor, Schwarzenegger worked with leaders of both major political parties to address the greatest challenges facing the state. His leadership put California at the forefront of the nation in addressing climate change, pushing for the development of renewable energies, rebuilding critical infrastructure, investing in stem cell research and putting in place health care and political reforms.

Since leaving office in 2011, he has continued to promote state and local clean energy efforts by founding the non-profit R20: Regions of Climate Action. Additionally in 2013, he established the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, devoted to seeking bipartisan solutions to environmental, economic and other public policy issues. He serves as chair of the think-tank’s board and also holds a public policy professorship at the school.

Schwarzenegger was appointed by President George H. W. Bush as Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from 1990-93, and also served as the Chairman for the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Gov. Pete Wilson. As an advocate for children, Governor Schwarzenegger championed the After School Education and Safety Act of 2002 (Proposition 49), which was overwhelmingly approved by voters. He authored and chaired the initiative, which is designed to make state grants available to every public middle school in California for quality after-school programs.

Schwarzenegger moved to the United States from Austria at 21 years old and was best known at the time for his bodybuilding career. He would eventually become the youngest Mr. Universe and a seven-time Mr. Olympia winner. By the age of 30, Schwarzenegger was a millionaire, well before his career in Hollywood. His financial independence came from his success as a budding entrepreneur with a series of successful business ventures and investments.

With an eye on acting, Schwarzenegger won a Golden Globe Award for the 1976 film “Stay Hungry” but would make his Hollywood breakthrough with the 1982 hit “Conan the Barbarian.” Over the next six years, he would cement his role as a huge box office star in several films, including “The Terminator,” “Twins,” “Predator” and “Kindergarten Cop.”

“The Terminator” would quickly become his best known film franchise and its popularity continues today. Most recently, Schwarzenegger starred in “Terminator Genisys,” which opened July 1 and has earned nearly $450 million globally.

“The Celebrity Apprentice” is produced by United Artists Media Group. Mark Burnett, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Page Feldman and Eric Van Wagenen are executive producers.

Schwarzenegger is represented by Creative Artists Agency and attorneys Patrick Knapp and Jacob Bloom of Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal.