Murtzcellanious: Murtz Jaffer Talks To Apprentice 3\'s Todd Everett


It was a pleasure to talk to the first contestant fired on The Apprentice 3, Todd Everett.

Murtz Jaffer: Obviously the first question is the one that everybody else has asked already. What does it feel like being the first one kicked off?

Todd Everett: Oh, it was devastating. Brutal. I mean I think to get there, you have to have a certain amount of success in your life and literally I think that everybody who gets there is capable of winning. So to be the first one off (and I think that I was one of the top candidates going into it), it’s just devastating and brutal. It’s one of those things where it’s devastating and then you sort of get over it and move on. My philosophy is that the same thing that got me on the show is what got me kicked off. I step up in life. In order to win in life, you have to step up and I didn’t come there to fly below-the-radar and coast my way to the top. I went there to test my skills against the top executives in the world. You give up so much to get there. I mean I literally gave up all my income, I left my job, I left my wife and two kids for almost three months. Once you’re off the show, you still have to stay there. You can’t just come right back home…

MJ: But then the question is why give it up? Why try out for the Apprentice in the first place?

TE: I think basically your question is why try out for the Apprentice?

MJ: Yeah, because if you’re saying that you have to give up all this stuff, it sounds like you had to give up a lot of stuff. Going back, would you have done it again? Would you be willing to sacrifice the time with the family and your income and everything?

TE: Yeah, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. That’s just my philosophy in life. In order to realize your true greatness, you have to set yourself up for challenges. Some challenges you’ll win and some challenges you’ll lose. You can’t take it to heart. I think the most important thing is to put yourself in the game of life. I think my whole premise for going on the show was to test my skills against other top executives in the world. People that were really at the top of their professions. It didn’t work out for me, but it easily could have gone the other way and I could be in the Final Four. That’s kind of what is skewed about the show. I think you only got like 12 hours to know these people and put them in key positions within the task. That’s what makes that first project manager role so vital because you really don’t know the group. You don’t know how they are going to perform under pressure. They have never been in those tasks before. It’s not an advisable position to be that first project manager.

MJ: In terms of the team, as soon as you got to the office were you already sizing up the competition? Did you have any idea that it was going to be split into book versus street?

TE: No, I had no idea. That whole street smart versus book smart concept I really felt was a little bit more to the point than the age-old men versus women thing. I think that book smarts versus street smarts really does have a professional appeal and it is one that pertains to professionalism and success a little moreso than just the whole men versus women thing.

MJ: That’s actually a big question for you. Could you tell me your thoughts on the whole book versus street thing? Do you think it is a fair way to judge somebody and what kind of a message do you think that this sends to students that are still in school?

TE: This is something that has been going on for at least 30-40 years although primarily in the last ten years it has become increasingly important to have a college degree. Prior to ten years ago, you could actually get with a company and they wouldn’t hold you back for promotions. They would even let you in at a higher position if you had a certain level of success without a college education. About ten years ago, it started to go the other way and people that didn’t have a college education were being held back either for promotions or not getting certain jobs because they didn’t have a college education. I personally am of the feeling that a higher education is never a bad thing. For your first four years out of highschool, you’re really trying to find yourself and find your profession anyway. Why not go and test yourself and gain some more knowledge and hopefully let that point you in the right direction.

MJ: Isn’t the argument against that to say that instead of putting those four years into a college degree, what about putting those four years into a company move up yourself. What’s your take on that?

TE: Well, I would say that 15 years ago that might not have been a bad path but today, like I’m saying… it’s almost in today’s age a college education is like a highschool diploma was 20 years ago. Companies are really looking at that as a barometer of your dedication to a higher level of education. I hear what you’re saying and I agree with it. You could go into real estate or health insurance or life insurance. There’s many professions that you can literally make great sums of money and have a lot of personal and professional success without a higher education (meaning a bachelor’s and beyond). I think it’s just a better and more secure road for the stability of your financial future if you have that education. That way you’ll never be held back. I mean let’s face it. What’s four years in the longer perspective of life?

MJ: I guess (judging by your take) that you had no aspirations to not go to college before you got to Miami?

TE: Ironically enough, I was never a great student in highschool. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I pride myself being a street-smart sort instead of a book-smarts guy. I found after highschool, that I was really at a crossroads. I didn’t want to stay in my same town all my life. In order for me to really set things up for myself later on, I felt like I really needed to take a stab at college and do it the right way. I went to a community college for a little while, got straight A’s, and then transferred to the University of Miami where I got straight A’s too.

MJ: Could you tell me a little bit about ‘No Fear’?

TE: No Fear was one of my latest companies. I was a sales manager. No Fear is an international sports apparel company and I was a sales manager there for about five years and did really well. Before that, I owned and operated a restaurant with my wife, out in Pacific Palisades, California.

MJ: What kind of restaurant was that?

TE: It was like a full breakfast and full lunch cafe.

MJ: Why did you leave that?

TE: I left that to go to No Fear. I left that ’cause my wife and I figured out… it was one of those things where you are searching for that one gig where you feel right in. Although we were making good money and we were owners of our own business and we were making good money, we just didn’t feel right. We didn’t like the restaurant business. We weren’t having fun. We didn’t like going to work everyday. It was at a time when people were asking for us to sell it and we decided to take them up on it and move to San Diego. At that point we were looking to raise kids and start a family and we didn’t want to do it in LA. If you don’t know the difference between LA and San Diego. It’s a vastly different type of community. Where we live it’s a beach community. It’s very communal-oriented. Lotta neighborhoods on the beach. It’s a great place to raise kids. In LA, it’s very fast-paced and city-like…

MJ: Almost Apprentice-like?

TE: Yeah, exactly. Nothing against LA, I just wanted to give my kids more of a beach lifestyle growing up.

MJ: Moving towards the show, could you tell me what you thought about Carolyn calling Danny a ‘scapegoat’ indicating that you were the one to blame for the loss?

TE: I don’t think that she’s too far off. Look, I took the fall for everybody. Danny set himself up for that. It’s one thing to say that Danny’s a scapegoat but it’s another thing to realize that Danny was the cause of a lot of distraction in that first task. I actually started training in that first task but kept getting pulled back to deal with Danny and Stephanie not fulfilling their marketing obligations. She can say that Danny’s a fall guy, but it only holds so much water. In reality, any of us could have gone down. Stephanie could have gone down too, if I had taken her into the boardroom. Unfortunately I was only given the opportunity to bring two people in. I should have asked him (Trump), if I could bring in three.

MJ: And that was the option that was available in the second season…

TE: Yeah, exactly. I just totally dropped the ball on that. I look back on that, right after I picked my two people and I said I should have asked for three. I think that by that point my days were numbered anyway. I really do.

MJ: Because you lost so handily?

TE: You know what’s interesting Murtz, is we didn’t lose handily. You don’t get a good sense of it on TV, but we only lost by $48. Whatever that is. Eight burgers. We had three times more revenue than the other team had. We did like $5000 in business, the other team did like $1500. Our actual restaurant was way busier than the other team’s.

MJ: What do you attribute that to, because it obviously wasn’t the PR?

TE: It could have been luck, location. The restaurants weren’t too far apart. Maybe three blocks or something.

MJ: The question that bothered me was why did you take Alex in there? I don’t understand why you didn’t take Stephanie.

TE: Well Stephanie was my second choice. Alex also was. It was actually his responsibility to train the restaurant staff. When he indicated that he only trained two people, I kind of felt like that was a big oversight. It doesn’t avoid my responsibility on it. I ended up taking the brunt anyway. On John’s side, they were all cross-trained on everything. On our side there were only a couple of people trained on the register, and a couple on the burgers…

MJ: Wouldn’t you blame the project manager for that?

TE: I took the hit for it. I am not saying that I didn’t avoid any responsibility for it but that’s why you choose a restaurant manager. It’s a fine line. I dropped the ball in not being able to be trained but the reason that I wasn’t trained is because I continually had to be pulled back over to deal with Danny, to deal with Stephanie, and also to continue to make sure that we were going by the rules and regulations of the dossier.

MJ: Did you know that you were going to take Alex into the boardroom before Trump pointed out his error?

TE: I knew that going in. Here’s what I thought about the whole Stephanie and Danny thing. I thought that as long as Stephanie said her peace in the boardroom and she got out that Danny was really entirely difficult to deal with and was unmanageable, even on her side that that would sort of vindicate her for being responsible for the marketing. She was really there as the accountant, not the marketing. She did well on the accounting. As far as the marketing went, she really just got shut down by Danny so I felt that if I had to pick…

MJ: You couldn’t really pick her because she still contributed…

TE: Exactly. Add into the mix that Alex really dropped the ball on the training. It was a fine line. I really wish that I could have brought in three because the first question that Trump asked me when I brought them in, was where Stephanie was.

MJ: Were you surprised that Kendra turned on you?

TE: Kendra was the only one that said that I deserved to be fired. That’s what I was kind of bummed about. You didn’t really get a proper perspective. They made Danny out to be the scapegoat. He really wasn’t man. He deserved to go down as much as I did.

MJ: But isn’t that how the first show always works? Where they don’t show everything but instead focus on getting everyone their 35 seconds on TV?

TE: I think that Danny was such a character that they were going to for sure keep him around for a couple of more episodes.

MJ: I agree, but then the question is you had seen the show before. Anyone who has seen the show would know not to become the first project manager and seeing a guy dress like Danny, there is no way that I would give him a responsibility like marketing.

TE: I don’t know about that. I get what you’re saying. That’s what Danny does. Danny is one of the most successful people on the Apprentice. He owns his own marketing firm. He’s a CEO of one of the world’s biggest marketing firms. He has some of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies on his client list. He is a brilliant and talented person but he just couldn’t get it together on that marketing task. I don’t want to give up too much but you’ll see a whole new side of Danny on the next episode (second episode). I just think that he came out of the gate on too much of a wacky form. He didn’t stick to the basics of what The Apprentice is all about. I think he got off on some tangents.

MJ: Do you think that was ‘put on’ for the camera?

TE: I don’t really know. I think it might have been. Just enough to get his some press and publicity. To be the sort of breakout character on the show.

MJ: When you saw that he was on your team with the guitar and the whole rah-rah speech, you must have been concerned.

TE: I thought it was corny but I thought it was the first day. Everybody was letting it all hang out. Just let it be. He’s the first one that grabbed the dossier when we came back to the room. He started going through the motions of putting it all together, almost as if he was going to be the project manager. Since it was the restaurant task, I felt like I had to step up and become the project manager. Trump and all of them knew that I used to own a restaurant. I don’t regret that choice. That’s how I play life. Was I devastated and taken aback by being the first one off, yes. But that’s what got me on the show. Having the balls enough to step out and be successful in life.

MJ: If the teams ever merge or have to work together, do you think this can happen? The majority of the episode focused on the bad blood between the teams.

TE: It’s an interesting dynamic this season. The dynamics on Season 3 is like no other. These people are no-holds-barred. They don’t keep anything back because it’s national TV. They don’t care how they are going to look. You’ll get a glimpse of that.

MJ: Do you ever feel labeled? Now you’re going to be known as Todd, the first guy fired on the Apprentice who was on the book smart team.

TE: I think in two years, no one is going to know the difference. I think in one year, no one is going to know the difference. No one cares. Reality TV is like scripted drama in a sense. I applied for the first season, and while I never got called for the second season, I got called for #3. Watching Season 2, I thought the show was going into a different direction. It was becoming so successful that for me it was losing the appeal.

MJ: It was losing the purity with all the random firings and calling everybody back to the boardroom.

TE: Exactly. It was becoming a scripted drama and not a reality program about professionals succeeding at these tasks.

MJ: I completely agree. Do you think that is going to hurt the show in the long run?

TE: Not only that, what I find to be disappointing is that now the people that are going on The Apprentice are simply tools to pitch national products for people. It’s not about whether you can succeed personally at any individual task. For me, it was losing its luster of being an original format of young executives striving to succeed at these individual tasks. Now, I think that they are making the tasks so hard that they’re almost impossible.

MJ: You said that you watched the first and second seasons of the show. Are there any contestants that you identified with?

TE: I would say that the first season, Troy reminded me of myself. Troy and maybe Bill. The second season, I want to say Chris and John. They were young, solid individuals that strived hard in life and obtained a fair amount of success. All of those guys did really well.

MJ: On your cast, who was the person that you liked the most, liked the least, would hire to win, and fire next?

TE: Like the most? I liked Brian and Michael. Brian and Michael were really good friends of mine. Liked the least? I don’t really know them. I wasn’t there long enough to have bad blood for any of them. It’s hard to say who I would want to win. I am watching the episodes unfold with you guys. I am going to say John and Alex (one from each side). Fire next? (laughs). I don’t really know how they performed…

MJ: You met Donald Trump, how is he? Were there any funny things that we didn’t see on TV?

TE: I did meet Donald Trump, and what you see is what you get with him. He’s the same person that you see on TV.

MJ: The rumor that I heard about him is that he doesn’t like shaking hands…

TE: Oh, that’s true. He’s afraid of germs. That’s the story that I hear.

MJ: What’s next for you?

TE: Right now, I am in the process of negotiating a contract with the vice-president of sales for a medical company. It’s going to be a global sales role. A lifetime of corporate abuse probably (laughs). If I can make some good money and support my family, then I am all for it.

MJ: So no aspirations to do the whole TV and speaking gigs?

TE: No, I don’t think so. I talked to a lot of highschool and junior high kids and my message to them is pretty simple. In order to win at life, you gotta get in the game. It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s just the fact that you have the guts to get in the game.

Murtz Jaffer is the world's foremost reality television expert and was the host of Reality Obsessed which aired on the TVTropolis and Global Reality Channels in Canada. He has professional writing experience at the Toronto Sun, National Post, TV Guide Canada, and was a former producer at Entertainment Tonight Canada. He was also the editor at