In the first “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice,” country singer Trace Adkins was declared the winner, and he received the grand prize of $250,000 for his charity of choice: the American Red Cross. (Second place went to magician Penn Jillette.) “The Celebrity Apprentice,” which is executive produced and hosted by Donald Trump (who chooses the winner), features celebrities competing for their selected charities. Adkins was named the winner in a live season finale that NBC televised on May 19, 2013. The season finale’s after-party was held at Cipriani in New York City’s midtown Manhattan. I had a chance to briefly interview several of the stars at the after-party. Here is what this “Celebrity Apprentice” star said.
At what point did you decide who was going to be the winner of “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice”?
I didn’t have my mind made up until about midway through the show. I listened to what people were saying. I listened to my own instinct. The fact that Penn won $100,000 was great for him in one way, but not-so-great for him in another way.
When a TV show has been on the air for several years, stars of the show sometimes get bored with the show. Have you gotten bored with doing “The Apprentice”?
I haven’t lost the passion. It’s been almost 10 years [since the show started]. We’re casting for Season 14. People love it. It’s an amazing thing. We’re on Sunday night, which is a competitive night. I’ve never lost my passion for [“The Apprentice”]. When I do, I won’t do it anymore.
Will you go back to having “The Apprentice” with non-celebrity contestants?
I like whole celebrity thing better. We’re going to do celebrities. We’re not going to do an all-star [edition] again for a long time. We’re casting right now. It’s going to be amazing.
Lil Jon says he wants to star in his own TV show. Do you have any advice for him?
I don’t think he needs advice. He’s fantastic. He’s a winner. He was one of the highlights of the evening. I had no idea he was going to be so popular. I just felt like I had an obligation to do something for him. He actually played really well. He didn’t win that much money for his charity, and he should have. And now he’s won a lot of money for his charity.
When did you hear that Lil Jon’s mother passed away?
I heard it on the show. He’s a great guy.
What’s your response to people who think you should have chosen Penn Jillette to win instead of Trace Adkins?
We had many, many people who did a great job, but Trace did a very special job.
“The Apprentice” is now one of the longest-running reality shows on TV? Why do you think it’s lasted this long?
It just works. It’s true what I said about the Emmys. We should’ve had many, many Emmys by now. It might not have been politically correct to give me an Emmy, but that’s probably why the ratings are going down the tubes and the ratings are horrible.
But you know, I don’t have scripts, I don’t have papers or virtually anything. I know in other reality shows, they’re reading off of cards, but I don’t have any of that. We’re just honored by the great success that we’ve had.
Would you ask Omorosa to be a guest adviser in a future edition of “The Celebrity Apprentice”?
I think she’s terrific, but I don’t think that will happen. She’s been great for the show, and we’ve been great for her.
For more info: “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” website
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