The Daily Telegraph reports
His departure was billed as a "shock" but evidence is building that David Hasselhoff's stint on Channel 9's "Celebrity Apprentice" was a staged, three-week arrangement.
The former Baywatch and Knight Rider star reportedly "floored" contestants when he announced that he had to quit the reality show this week due to family commitments in the US.
However, spies say Hasselhoff, who shot his brief appearance on the show in the last three weeks of January, had a series of pre-scheduled commitments in both Germany and the US in early February, and that Nine was made aware of this at the start of shooting.
"It was always a three-week deal," a show insider told Confidential. "His departure was all completely staged and choreographed and was, in reality, a shock to no one."
What's more, Hasselhoff's work schedule had been on view to the public on his personal blog, giving the game away to anyone who bothered to take a squizz.
However, the 59-year-old's departure was packaged as a shock exit and described by Nine as "unfortunate and unavoidable".
A Nine statement confirmed that the network was "aware that there was a possibility David might get called away, as he had flagged this other personal obligation which could emerge during our schedule".
Asked yesterday why Hasselhoff was billed as a legitimate Celebrity Apprentice contender and not a "cameo", as appears to be the case, a spokesman replied: "You have the statement. 'Possibility' is the key word." Cute.
Meanwhile, the Celebrity Apprentice "boss" Mark Bouris continued with the charade yesterday, telling Triple M that, had Hasselhoff not left the series voluntarily, he would have "fired him anyway".
"I would have fired him that night - he was the weakest out of the team," he raged.