NBC's new Celebrity Apprentice to feature Arsenio Hall, Lou Ferrigno, Cheryl Tiegs and Debbie Gibson
NBC says they've amped up the big names for its latest edition of Celebrity Apprentice, announcing Arsenio Hall, Adam Carolla, Cheryl Tiegs, Penn Jillette and Debbie Gibson among the season to air starting Feb. 12.
But if this is an upgrade, it's only a small one. There's still plenty of folks we've seen before in unscripted settings, from current Celebrity Wife Swap star Dee Snider to American Chopper star Paul Teutul Sr., Growing Up Gotti star Victoria Gotti and Real Housewives star Teresa Giudice.
The goal, of course, is to make viewers think they'd watch these people have a sandwich together -- let along navigate a blizzard of bizarre tasks overseen by head blowhard Donald Trump.
To that end, I'm not sure this group gets near a cast last year which included LaToya Jackson, Gary Busey and Meat Loaf; but I'm sure they'll try. Given the grief Trump got for how he dealt with some of the black women on the show last season, it is interesting to note there are no African American females in the cast this time around.
This all comes as NBC is forced to lean hard on reality shows for the second part of its season; the New York Times notes nearly half the 19 hours of shows the network will air each week will be unscripted programs.
NEW YORK – Wednesday, January 4 – Donald Trump, executive producer and star of “Celebrity Apprentice,” announced today the newest and largest-ever lineup of famous faces appearing on the fifth installment of the series, premiering Sunday, February 12 at 9pm EST/PST on NBC.
The men are: late-night legend Arsenio Hall, pop star Clay Aiken, radio host Adam Carolla, the “Incredible Hulk” Lou Ferrigno, magician/comedian Penn Jillette, rock star Dee Snider, actor George Takei, IndyCar legend Michael Andretti, and star of “American Chopper,” Paul Teutul, Sr.
The women are: supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, pop star Debbie Gibson, actress and multi-Grammy winner Tia Carrere, author and reality star Victoria Gotti, comedienne Lisa Lampanelli, former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, singer and actress Aubrey O’Day, actress and model Patricia Velásquez, and star of “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” Teresa Giudice.
“This season of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ will be the most exciting yet. The show will be great, with a record number of contestants and 15 episodes. We are thrilled to bring 18 new and talented celebrities who will help me make ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ one of the hottest shows on television this spring. This will be season 12 -- Amazing!” said Mr. Trump.
All 18 business-savvy celebrity contestants will compete with the goal of raising money and awareness for their charity of choice. The last person standing will be chosen as the Celebrity Apprentice and have the honor of delivering a $250,000 bonus check to their designated charity, following in the footsteps of previous winners Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers, Bret Michaels and John Rich.
The celebrities will be subject to long hours, grueling deadlines, intellectual challenges, personality clashes, and intense scrutiny under the careful watch of Donald Trump and his advisors, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump. Last season, “Celebrity Apprentice” raised a record amount for the contestants’ charities, donating over $3.1 million to charity.
"We’ve never seen such a smart and funny group as this year’s lineup of celebrities,” said executive producer Mark Burnett. “‘Celebrity Apprentice’ is better than ever, and it’s all for a great purpose – raising millions for charity."
“Celebrity Apprentice” airs Sundays at 9:00p.m. ET/PT on NBC