“All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” doesn’t return to NBC until Sun. March 3 at 9:00 p.m., but that didn’t stop a few dedicated stars from showing up at a press tour breakfast. Marilu Henner, Trace Adkins, Stephen Baldwin, Omarosa, Gary Busey, Lil Jon and Lisa Rinna told gathered reporters about why they returned, who fought with who (short answer: everyone with everyone) and plugged their charities for good measure while throwing in some jabs at one another.
Since the cast is made up of, well, losers, there was the question of how they played differently this time around. “[I needed to] really keep focused,” said Marilu Henner, who also noted that this season, an important change was made behind the scenes to give the players a day off once a week. “It was a very different way to play the game this time… We also knew that not only was everyone was going to up their game, the tasks were harder, but it was so much more fun this time.”
When it was noted that the first episode seemed to feature women fighting but not men, Rinna said simply, “Women can be bitchy.”
“Lil Jon had to break up all the fights between me and crazy ass LaToya Jackson,” Omarosa added.
Despite the mention of “crazy ass” LaToya, the “Apprentice” pro said, “We had a rule, to leave it in the boardroom.”
Rinna shot back, “I didn’t learn that.”
At this point, the question and answer format of the breakfast pretty much broke down into the stars joking around with one another, then answering questions. “Gary got all up in Lisa’s face, saying, why did you say that about me?” Omarosa recalled.
Jillette, who wrote scathingly (and humorously) about his first stint on the show in his book “Every Day Is An Atheist Holiday!,” tried to answer the question about “leaving it in the boardroom” seriously, though, saying, “This is not magic time, it”s your life and what happens in your life is all real. I don”t think we”re acting special in there, we”re not playing a role, and in some sense[we’re] honest to ourselves.”
“I forgive Penn for everything he did this season,” Omarosa wisecracked.
The always friendly Henner said, “Sometimes you go into it not liking the person, and sometimes it changes and sometimes it doesn”t.” Sadly, Henner didn’t tell us who she hated both before and after the season, if anyone.
Omarosa, though, was happy to fill us in on one returning celebrity for whom she has nothing but hatred — Piers Morgan, a winner who returned to oversee the competitors in the boardroom. “[Piers Morgan] said he came back solely to torture me… He’s a mean, nasty person. He was so nasty, I’m not exaggerating,” shE said, adding, “It is significantly different than the first time I came in. You won”t believe the things people will do or say to win… I fought with everybody.”
Gary Busey, when asked if he was relieved Meatloaf didn’t return to the show, said, “No. I never ate meatloaf anyway. Those things happened in the past, so why carry a memory of darkness or combat with you because it does you no good..[.He’s a] wonderful man. I respect him very much.”
While Jillette gushed over the show’s commitment to “honesty,” some stars on the panel were more honest than others. “I don”t think I”ve ever learned anything doing this show I used anywhere else. No shit,” Adkins said.”
When asked why they returned, the celebrities had a wide range of answers. “I got contacted to come back, and I was like, I ain’t coming back,” Lil Jon said. “And then while I was thinking about it, my mother had a stroke. She”s had diabetes her whole life, but I thought it was in remission… Sometimes parents don”t want you to know and all of that. And it made me say, maybe I should go back to bring awareness.”
Others also mentioned the pull of doing a good deed being key. “That’s the one reason I would do a reality show. This one at least has a shred of nobility because of the charitable aspect of it. Only reason I would consider doing it,” Adkins said. Still, he wasn’t eager to return. “[The show] just puts you in a position where you’re forced to tolerate individuals I normally wouldn”t. I don”t live my life like that; I don”t spend time with people I abhor. But this year it wasn”t that way. It was a great experience.”
What made it great? “We can”t give too much away. The coolest thing for me this season is everybody”s played the game before and for me, there was a level of terror involved,” Baldwin said. “The only person that I really liked in this process was Trace.” When his castmates groaned, Baldwin raised a hand. “Let me finish! I”m getting into the psychology of it. And the only person I trusted was no one. I love Lisa and Marilu… but you don”t know if she”s going to knife you in the back five minutes later.”
Omarosa shot back, “Steve Baldwin played a mind game on most of us. He came in on day 1, you knew what his approach was. He”ll stab you in the front so you know it”s coming… He’s my brother in Christ, God bless you.”
Despite the barbs, they all seemed to be in good fun. “We had so many laughs. Sometimes we were uncontrollable,” said Henner.
And, sometimes, honest. When everyone was asked why they returned, Busey just shrugged. “The reason I did the show was I didn’t have anything else to do.”