The little-seen cable channel, part of the A&E Networks, announced that the program would premiere Sept. 18 with two half-hour episodes. Described as “‘All the President’s Men’ meets ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,'” “Trump Tapes” mixes reality-show-style personal elements about Arnold and his quest — sometimes in comedic fashion — with appearances by celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rosie O’Donnell, as well as journalists Jane Mayer, David Corn and Michael Isikoff.
The tapes in question include unaired footage from “The Apprentice,” highlighting efforts — dating back to the presidential campaign in 2016 and exposure of the “Access Hollywood” tape — to release outtakes that would allegedly show the president saying sexist or misogynistic things.
Other tapes being sought by Arnold include outtakes from Howard Stern’s radio show, on which Trump was a frequent guest.
In the episodes previewed, Arnold tries to pressure “Apprentice” producer Mark Burnett to make the tapes public by using a bullhorn outside his office. Because Burnett has rejected those efforts, Arnold seeks to find people to leak him the material.
Arnold is also shown interviewing Penn Jillette — a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” — who says that while working on the show he heard things that “made me sick to my stomach.”
Arnold said if he did find explosive footage, he would not withhold it until the show airs, a sentiment echoed by Viceland senior vice president of development Nomi Ernst Leidner, who appeared alongside Arnold at the TV Critics Assn. tour in Beverly Hills. She also noted that because Arnold is “really out there,” the program is undergoing a rigorous vetting process before it airs.
Arnold’s ex-wife, Roseanne Barr, has been an outspoken Trump supporter, and will appear on Fox News’ “Hannity” Thursday. Asked what he thought Barr would think of the show, Arnold said, “I don’t know. We haven’t been married for 24 years.”