The Celebrity Apprentice Episode 9-01 Review

I just want to start by saying that I realize that NBC’s schedule is thin but two hours is still way too long for a reality show such as The Apprentice. The show was structured similar to what I’ve heard NBC’s Olympic coverage was like – 2 minutes of content, a 30 second teaser, and 2 minutes of commercials. And of course, all this was on tape delay.

The good thing about that is that it allowed me to do about 50 different things during the show without missing anything.

So before we talk about the task, here are the Celebrities:

Tenacity (Women):

  • Selita Ebanks (Shine on Sierra Leone) – Selita is a Victoria’s Secret model from the Cayman Islands. And that’s about all I know. Sorry.
  • Cyndi Lauper (Stonewall Community Foundation for True Colors) – Cyndi is a Grammy winning singer who sang such hits as “Time After Time”, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “True Colors”. Some may also remember her for her appearances at Wrestlemania. And as she’s said in interviews, no she’s not.
  • Carol Leifer (North Shore Animal League America) – Carol’s a comedian who has written for Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show, and as the story goes, is a partial inspiration for the character of Elaine Benis.
  • Maria Kanellis (Make a Wish Foundation) – Maria is called a former WWE Diva although she was employed by WWE at the time of taping. She was actually let go by the company recently as they anticipated that she would garner some outside deals after appearing on Apprentice. And yes, you’d think that having her on WWE television while The Apprentice was airing would be a boon to the company. But this is WWE, and sometimes, they do stuff that just doesn’t make sense.
  • Sharon Osbourne (Cedars-Sinai in support of Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program) – Sharon is a judge on America’s Got Talent and a former judge on The X Factor. And of course she was a pivotal part of one of the first Celebreality series, The Osbournes. She’s also a cancer survivor, which I really have to congratulate her on.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (HollyRod Foundation) – Robinson Peete is probably best known for 21 Jump Street (she also sang the theme song), or for Hangin’ With Mr. Hooper. She’s married to former Detroit Lions QB Rodney Peete and is the daughter of Sesame Street‘s original Gordon. She and Rodney have a radio show on Sirius XM on one of those channels I never tune into.
  • Summer Sanders (Right To Play) – Sanders is a Gold medal winning Olympic swimmer and television personality, who does have a reality TV connection as the host of season 2 of Beg, Borrow and Deal. People may also remember her as the co-host of NBA Inside Stuff.

Rocksolid (Men):

  • Rod Blagojevich (Children’s Cancer Center) – Rod is the former Governor of Illinois. Rod was impeached in 2009 after being charged with public corruption. And as you’ll see during the course of the show, Rod is a consummate politician through and through.
  • Bill Goldberg (Communities 4Kids in support of The One Good Turn Ranch 4Kids) – Goldberg is a former WCW and WWE champion, and current host of Bullrun on the Speed Channel. Prior to pro wrestling, he played football for the Atlanta Falcons, but let’s face it – you remember the guy from pro wrestling.
  • Michael Johnson (Laureus Sport for Good Foundation) – Michael Johnson is a Gold medal winning Olympic sprinter, and current world record holder in the 400m sprint. He was the previous world record holder in the 200m sprint, until Usain Bolt decided to take it. Most memorable thing for me about Johnson was that his sprinting style was very unique, an upright style that worked for him and seemed to defy conventional sprinting wisdom.
  • Bret Michaels (American Diabetes Association (Sponsor of Camps for Kids With Diabetes)) – Bret is the lead singer of hair metal band Poison but is probably better known for his reality show Rock of Love, which if you follow the convoluted family tree, can probably be blamed on The Surreal Life. As Bret notes several times during the first episode, he’s a Type 1 diabetic.
  • Sinbad (Omega Boys Club / Street Soldiers) – Sinbad is a comedian who first appeared on the original Star Search, then moved to acting in sitcoms and movies.
  • Curtis Stone (Feeding America) – Curtis Stone was the star of the reality show Take Home Chef and is the nutritional chef on The Biggest Loser. His bio says that he’s survived working under Marco Pierre White so in theory, he shouldn’t wilt under Trump.
  • Darryl Strawberry (The Darryl Strawberry Foundation) – Baseball fans will recognize the name Darryl Strawberry as one of the better players during the 80’s and 90’s. I’d need to do more research but I think he may be the only player to win a World Series with both the Mets and the Yankees. Like Sharon Osbourne, he is a cancer survivor, but his Foundation is not for cancer research – rather it is in support of autism.

Quite a lot of reality experience within the groups, so I don’t think that this will be a major issue as the season progresses.

The task at hand was the Apprentice version of “Restaurant Wars”, focusing of course on raising money. And as seen in the previous two Celebrity seasons, this task was not about the food itself but more about what contacts you could bring in to give those big dollars. In previous seasons, we saw Piers Morgan and Annie Duke utilize the high price point to bring in the big bucks. This season, we did not see as agressive a pricing strategy from either team, but Curtis set the bar for Rocksolid at $100, and that was probably what helped put them over the top in this task.

We also got the unwanted return of arguably the most undeserving reality winner in recent memory, as Joan Rivers was called in to taste food to determine a $10,000 bonus. To her credit, she did not blame Curtis for the food, but rather Rod for not getting the food to her in time. But that bonus made no difference, as Rocksolid did double the Tenacity sales prior to the bonus regardless of the taste test result.

Boardroom was really not interesting, but rather it was your standard first episode elimination that you see all the time on reailty television. Basically, you elminate a person who is perceived to be weak. In the absence of this, it’s whoever the majority of people decide to throw under the bus that gets sent home. If you watch the progression of the task, it is clear that Cyndi should have been fired but the women really seemed to be protecting Cyndi and Carol was put on the firing line despite doing the tasks assigned to her, and doing it well.

Of course, I’m sure the fact that Cyndi is so uncomfortable with the whole reality thing and is wonderfully unique in general played no part in Trump’s decision to spare her. We’ll have to see if she blossoms later on, but I suspect that she won’t.

Money Earned:
Bret Michaels – $100,000 ($100,000)
Carol Leifer – $10,000 ($10,000)

Project Manager Standings:
Bret Michaels (1-0)
Cyndi Lauper (0-1)

Finally, if you’re in the Toronto Area between March 26 and March 28, go visit Murtz at Wizard World Toronto.

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