The New Line-Up For “Celebrity Apprentice” Has A Distinct Retro Flavor
Donald Trump has seemed to have thoughts of the White House distract him slightly in casting this round of The Celebrity Apprentice to being in Feb. on NBC. Trump has vowed to continue to get top-flight "stars" for this journey, but this time it seems that we have a group of reality re-treads, mixed with the 80s throwing up, and what may be absent is someone in the headlines or from the world of politics.
The 18 "celebrities" for Mr. Trump this time around have some roots in the Reality TV world from the likes an Idol alum (Clay Aiken), two former Dancing With The Stars contestants (Adam Carolla and Tia Carrere), a product of Making The Band (Aubrey O'Day), a pair of A&E reality stars (Dee Snider and Victoria Gotti), a motorcycle entrepreneur (Paul Teutul Sr. of American Chopper) and a "Real Housewive" from NJ (Teresa Giudice).
Snider also leads an 80s revolution this time around in The Celebrity Apprenice that includes one of the original "Pop Tarts" (Debbie Gibson), one half of a comedy/magic team (Penn Jillette), the original Hulk (Lou Ferrigno), a late night talk show host (Arsenio Hall), a supermodel from the era (Cheryl Tiegs), and a Trekkie who spent the 80s in "The Final Frontier" on the big screen (George Takei).
The remaining 4 include Indy Car driver Michael Andretti, former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, model Patricia Velasquez and comedian Lisa Lampanetti.
What may make this season difficult for The Celebrity Apprentice is that the last 2 season were very strong with entertaining celebrities and people making the headlines. The 2010 season had a major news maker in Rod Blagojevich (the former Governor of Illinois), a celebrity chef with high profile in Curtis Stone, Sharon Osborne coming over from the highly Nielsen rated America's Got Talent, and then the story of Bret Michaels nearly dying from an appendix episode followed by a massive brain hemorrhage during the show's run.
2011 capitalized on the 2010 success with a former Oscar winner in Marlee Matlin, country superstar John Rich, news making former baseball player Jose Canseco, the always outspoken Star Jones, and the strongest Real Housewive in NeNe Leakes.
The 2012 cast seems to be lacking that buzz these 2 seasons had. We could see someone break out like Gary Busey did last season, but this group may also lacking a little "Crazy". Snider and Gotti would be my early favorites to get to the final, with Teresa and Paul Sr looking strong just based on their personalities.
Doesn't it seem that Donald Trump may have been sidetracked a bit this season with his casting? We have heard rumors back last year of The Donald running for President for the GOP. Trump is not running but tried to sponsor and moderate a debate in Iowa which went by the waste-side because Trump has not ruled out an independent run for the Oval Office.
Some elements of the show's past success are missing:
1 - An entertainer from the world of Country music
Trace Adkins and John Rich are 2 of the most successful players in the show's history. Bret Michaels also has country roots with past solo albums and judging Nashville Star. Let's not forget Clint Black has competed here as well. Where is someone like Darius Rucker? How about husband and wife like Brad Paisley and actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley?
2 - A true headline maker in the news
Who among this group of 18 have made any significant news? Jessica Simpson is currently on People magazine's Top-25 Hot List - I know she's pregnant but id she gave birth during the show would guarantee monster ratings! Aren't the Beckham's always making news? Where is the call to former GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty? He could debate Trump every week!
3 - Reality TV overdose?
Trump may be gambling on this approach, but NBC could have helped with some of their talent from other shows. How about somebody from the SNL cast (like Fred Armisen), a Dunder-Mufflin employee from The Office (maybe Oscar Nunez), or getting the suddenly hot again host of Fear Factor (Joe Rogan).
4 - How about the 90s instead of the 80s
Look to someone like Camryn Manheim of The Practice, and now on Harry's Law (which is on the NBC roster - Jeez!). Speaking of The Practice, isn't Dylan McDermott on the comeback trail in the FX series American Horror Story?
I can only hope that the 2012 edition of Celebrity Apprentice will keep the good momentum they have built going, but the early verdict here is that something seems missing.