Donald Trump opened this season of Celebrity Apprentice by saying, "The circus is back in town, and you are looking at the ringmaster." After this, he greeted the new cast flanked by the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. The guy definitely knows how to make an entrance. He also knows whereof he speaks. His boardroom usually does turn into a circus eventually, and with the combination of stars competing this season, it's not going to take too long for it to happen.
The celebrities were broken into two teams – men against women. The first order of business was coming up with the team names and their first Project Managers. The ladies team decided to call themselves" ASAP" – Artists, Singers, Authors, and Professionals With a Purpose. They called on former View host Star Jones to be their first Project Manager. The men decided on the name of "Backbone" after some wild suggestions from Gary Busey including "Sperm Farmers." Former Survivor winner and convicted felon Richard Hatch became their first Project Manager.
The first task presented to the teams was to manage pizza restaurants. The first Project Managers always have a great struggle, as they're usually scapegoats more than anything else. ASAP had one good worker and one liability, but no one wanted to call her out. Their best worker was supermodel Niki Taylor, who put her talents to work baking the pizzas. When they won the prize as the best-tasting pizza from Chef Curtis Stone, credit deservedly went to Niki. The liability on ASAP was undeniably Dionne Warwick who at this point in her life isn't the most expedient person. Putting her on the cash register was probably the only place they could put her, yet she was quite slow.
This team also had a power struggle between Lisa Rinna and Star. Lisa commented to the camera, and not Star, that her advertising was useless. She was correct. Advertising in teeny little print is pointless. Star thought Lisa should have been able to get the pizzas delivered. She and Marlee Matlin didn't finish their deliveries, which ended up being a $35,000 mistake. Viewers didn't get to see enough of this to really decide who was at fault there. It would seem as if it should come down to Lisa and Marlee, but it may have been a mission that was doomed for failure to begin with.
It didn't seem Richard had the guys using their talents well. Gary on sales was where he belonged. Flanked by John Rich and Lil John, they made a good sales team. However, their bigger faces were buried. Jose Canseco, David Cassidy, Mark McGrath, and Meat Loaf were buried in the kitchen. These are four huge faces that could have brought in great sales.
A larger power struggle came up between Jose and David against Richard. It was clear that Jose didn't respect Richard and who he was about at all. David had an issue with Richard, as he got physical with him poking and pushing him. No one should have to put up with that. What Richard was objecting to was that David had completely underestimated the amount of vegetables he needed to have chopped and prepared for the pizzas.
There didn't seem to be much shown of the two teams in order to have time to air the boardroom showdown. The ladies were called out right away for not delivering that pizza order for $35,000. Star and Lisa both called each other out, but in the end it didn't matter, as they still had the most sales, even without the $35,000. They made over $115,000, while the men made just over $54,000. The ladies will have to get down and dirty and argue it out at a later time; this fight belonged to the guys tonight.
The battles that came up in the pizzeria showed their faces in the boardroom. Jose announced he didn't like Richard, despite Richard saying that Jose worked his butt off. Richard did not like David and spent the entire time belittling him and his size. It probably wasn't wise to sit him next to Jose. It just made him look tiny. He boasted that he's not small, as he weighs 140. There are probably at least a couple of the women on ASAP that weigh over 140.
Trump had to decide whether he should fire Richard Hatch, Jose Canseco, or David Cassidy. Every member polled on Backbone felt it should be Richard getting fired. Eventually Trump fired David thinking he didn't have what it takes to stand up for himself. Certainly in the business world that's should be the major factor. However, you also can't have someone who is constantly belittling his coworkers.
Ultimately, while David Cassidy was the first one fired on this season of Celebrity Apprentice, Richard Hatch isn't going to make it to the end either. To be that abrasive this early in the game isn't going to do well. Additionally, reality show fans have seen Richard on Survivor, and know he isn't a work horse. He's a strategizer and a leader. He won't do well as an underling. It seems just a question of time.
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Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBC