Every morning is now a nightmare of stories about either the President’s personal attorney illegally paying off adult film stars or the President himself using Twitter to threaten airstrikes on other countries. Every day is now a constant state of suck. I do not own a time machine, but if I did own a time machine, there is one specific moment that occurred in early 2014 that gave us the Trump Presidency — and if someone does own a time machine, please pay attention. What’s strange about it is that it’s a pretty small moment, one not many people think about anymore. Yet if someone could go back and change that moment, we wouldn’t be dealing with this nightmare today. And, frankly, if you’re a fan of Donald Trump, if this one moment is changed, I bet Trump would be happier in his life right now, too.
So, I plead with you, if you own a time machine, please go back and tell Kevin Jonas to bring Lorenzo Lamas into the boardroom on Celebrity Apprentice instead of Ian Ziering. This one decision had repercussions that the entire world now feels today.
Let me explain.
The 14th season of The Apprentice or Celebrity Apprentice would wind up being Donald Trump’s last as host. When it was filmed in early 2014, the show had long lost its cultural significance and was on the bubble of cancelation, so much so that these episodes wouldn’t even air until January of 2015 and NBC had begun burning them off by playing two episodes every week.
But this particular season of Celebrity Apprentice had a secret weapon: Kevin Jonas, the oldest of the Jonas Brothers, who still had an incredibly large, young, fan base. All of a sudden, Celebrity Apprentice was getting attention on social media from a younger fans that the show hadn’t really seen before – at least not in quite a few seasons. The ratings for the premiere of that season’s Celebrity Apprentice were higher than expected, fueled by the excitement over the eldest Jonas Brother. The show was on a roll.
In the second episode, Kevin Jonas is appointed project manager. His team loses and it’s mainly Lorenzo Lamas’ fault. But Kevin Jonas – who realizes he’s in the position of being the ratings giant – decides to get cute with who he brings into the boardroom to be fired. Jonas, knowing that he can’t be fired because that would be a disaster for the show, brings back Geraldo Rivera and Ian Ziering. Geraldo is brought back because Jonas and Geraldo have been butting heads and Jonas looks at Geraldo as a threat to win the whole thing. Ziering is brought back for really no good reason at all. Jonas’ thought process here is that Trump will be forced to fire Jonas’ nemesis, Geraldo Rivera.
So they all get in the boardroom and Donald Trump keeps harping about how dumb it is that Lorenzo Lamas isn’t in the boardroom because he’s the reason the team lost. Jonas can’t come up with a good answer about why Lamas isn’t there and finally Trump says, “He tried to out-think me and nobody out-thinks me.” Then Trump asks Jonas if he thinks Ziering should survive. Jonas goes all in and says yes, thinking that Trump will then fire Geraldo. But Jonas doesn’t take into account that Trump and Geraldo go waaaaay back, so then Trump inexplicably fires Kevin Jonas. In the second episode! It may come as a surprise today that Donald Trump would fire someone out of spite even though it’s against his own self-interest, but that’s what happened.
(This is not an easy clip to find anymore. NBC has scrubbed this all from its website. My favorite though is this terrible-looking clip. If you want to laugh, go to the 2:50 mark in this clip and listen to the reaction from the person recording this video.)
Not surprisingly, fans of Kevin Jonas were not pleased. But here’s the thing about being on The Apprentice: there weren’t any rules other than Donald Trump kind of made up his own rules as he went. (This should sound familiar to anyone living in 2018.) If there was a rule, it was “don’t piss off Trump,” and Kevin Jonas did just that. So, here’s where things get interesting: because of the fact Kevin Jonas didn’t bring Lorenzo Lamas into the boardroom, Kevin Jonas wound up getting fired – and, not surprisingly, all of those surprisingly good ratings and that social media buzz disappeared.
(It was pretty obvious NBC wasn’t happy with Jonas’ firing because, after, they still tried to keep Jonas as part of the show by giving him a blog to recap the episodes he now had nothing to do with. This has also been scrubbed but can be found with internet archive searches.)
If Trump had not fired Jonas – though, arguably, Jonas got what he deserved – the ratings for the whole season would have been surprisingly good. (There was one future episode that did well, which involved a heavily promoted fight between two Real Housewives.) If the ratings for the whole season had been good — and with Jonas involved, it likely would have kept ticking up as he got closer to winning — NBC would have most likely approached Trump for another season and given him a substantial offer. Instead, because of the Jonas firing, the overall ratings for the entire season were just okay (fueled by the two episodes that Jonas was actually on), again placing Celebrity Apprentice back on the bubble. And this led Trump to make the decision to raise his profile by running for President of the United States – something that of course would never actually happen, but would put him in a better bargaining position for another season of The Apprentice. And, anyway, here we are today:
Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
But, somewhere, in an alternate universe, Kevin Jonas decided to bring in Lorenzo Lamas to that boardroom meeting. Lamas got fired and Jonas went on to make it to the finals. The entire season was a hit and Donald Trump got himself another season. And, right now, Trump is sitting happy at Trump Tower, eating McDonald’s or a well-done steak, having sex with adult film stars and just having a great time. Instead, both he and us are all miserable… all because of Kevin Jonas.
You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.