The 70-year-old President-elect of the United States has hosted the reality show since 2004, but stepped down from fronting the NBC series when he started his campaign for the White House.

Trump has been widely criticised for staying on as executive producer of The New Celebrity Apprentice, but Schwarzenegger supported the Republican real estate mogul-turned-politician's decision to remain involved.

"I knew that from the beginning that he’s an executive producer on the show,” the former Governor of California said at a press conference on Friday (09Dec16). “It’s no different than when I was running for governor and I became governor.

"My credit starring in Terminator still said Schwarzenegger and everything stayed the same and I continued getting the royalties and all that stuff. So, I think that this is a contract that he had. I think that it was great that he was part of it," he added.

Schwarzenegger, 69, said he was glad Trump won the election last month (Nov16), as it meant he could step in as host of the show.

"The bottom line is that Trump did a great job for 14 seasons and I had big shoes to fill in this 15th season," Schwarzenegger told People.com. "I love the show and I’d always wanted to do something like this. I’m so grateful he ran for office so I had the opportunity."

And the Terminator star added he would welcome Trump back with open arms if he wanted to take on a bigger role in the programme.

"I don’t think that he’s going to be co-hosting with me (but) maybe we can have him as one of the guest advisers or something like that if he has time,” he said.

Schwarzenegger also wished his predecessor luck as he takes on the biggest role of his political career, encouraging those who had backed the new President-elect's rival Hillary Clinton for the presidential role to now "give Trump a chance".

“I just feel like we cannot judge anything after one month," he added. "He hasn’t even entered office yet. So let us watch him go and get started before we go and start judging all the little moves... I only know because that’s exactly what happened to me, also. I know that (I was judged for) taking a long time finding my chief of staff.”

The New Celebrity Apprentice premieres on 2 January (17) in the U.S.