Even if you haven’t watched “Celebrity” (or any one of dozens of similar “reality” shows) you’re no doubt familiar with the concept by now – a group of celebs looking to pump up their public profile either compete for superiority, try to sober up, attempt to fit into this season’s swim wear or just survive living in the same house.
The list of contestants or particpants usually includes a handful of has-beens, a few Z-list wannabees and, because everyone loves a good disaster, a trainwreck or two. (Think Brigette Neilsen on “The Surreal Life” or “Celebrity Rehab.”)
For the latest season of “Celebrity Apprentice” however, NBC has managed to land some contestants who actually have their shit together, including Sharon Osbourne, Cyndi Lauper, Holly Robinson Peete, Bret Bill Goldberg, Darryl Strawberry and Sinbad.
And the trainwreck? That honor falls to none other than Governor F-Bomb himself, former Illinois top dog Rod Blagojevich. (Although, to be honest, Poison frontman Bret Michaels probably comes a close second. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.)
On last night’s debut episode, the two teams – men vs. women ‘natch – were challenged to run New York City family-owned, diner-style burger chain Burger Heaven, with the winner the team that raised the most money from a fundraiser held for charity at one of the company’s restaurants.
The result was an hour of pretty captivating television that pretty clearly demonstrated how people can essentially be in the same business, yet have totally different skill sets and was also an interesting study in personality clashes.
In the space of 60 minutes it became clear that the two celebs to bet on are Osbourne, who Burger Heaven patrons tapped to be the winner of the show in a placemat poll conducted at the restauraunt, and Lauper, who is competing for her True Colors Foundation and was made project manager for the challenge. But don’t take your eye off Robinson Peete, who basically pushed her way into the leadership role when she felt that Lauper was spending more time griping about not having enough loaded friends to win the challenge than she was trying to win.
Speaking of Cyndi Lauper’s friends, Trump wasted no time using the singer’s appearance on the show to revive his feud with her friend Rosie O’Donnell. When Lauper mentioned that she’d contacted O’Donnell to hit her up for a donation for her team’s charity, the Donald all but threw up on her shoes.
Trump called the comedian “disgusting” and launched into a tirade that had everyone wondering if Lauper would walk from the competition in protest. To her credit, she rose above being baited and stuck it out with at least one good result.
While the project manager of the losing team is usually sent packing, the members of the ladies team “Tenacity” decided to let comedian Carol Leifer have her walking papers instead.
Meanwhile, if Rod Blagojevich thought he was going to walk away from “Celebrity” with a boost to his tarnished legacy, he needs to have his head examined – if anyone can get to it under that ridiculous mop of hair.
Nearly every celebrity on the show took an opportunity to poke fun or take a shot at Blow-hard Blagojevich, who spent the majority of his time and energy making statements he appears to think will clear his name like “I’m in an unusual position these days. When I come calling for money, somebody’s listening and people on the other end know it.”
Subtle, real subtle. Stay classy Rod.
You know things are really bad when even the prerequisite beauty queen on the show, Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks, gets it. When her teammates were deliberating to pick a “weakest link” on the men’s team, which won the challenge, she said of Blagojevich, “Guys, he did get caught.”
But it seems that the ex-gov can’t even get being low man on the totem pole right: The women picked Michaels instead. (Maybe it was the singer’s ever-present “I’m not losing my hair, I’m just really fond of wearing hats” chapeau that tipped the scales.)
I’m guessing the shots are going to come harder and faster before Rod slinks away from the show with his tail between his legs.
In the meantime, this could get really, really interesting. Stay tuned.
“Celebrity Apprentice” airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EDT on NBC.
Monday, March 15
Michael Buble – “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”
Sinbad – “The Bonnie Hunt Show”
Guy Branum, T.J. Miller, Whitney Cummings – “Chelsea Lately”
Jason Derulo – “Lopez Tonight”
Kara DioGuardi, Ziggy Marley – “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”
Queen Latifah, Galactic – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” – rerun
Freeway – “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”
Phoenix – “Last Call with Carson Daly” – rerun
Tuesday, March 16
La Roux – “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”
Loni Love, Jo Koy, Josh Wolf – “Chelsea Lately”
Joe Bonamassa – “Lopez Tonight”
Snoop Dogg (presenting Top 10 List) – “Late Show with David Letterman”
Sade – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” – rerun
The Script – “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”
Paolo Nutini – “Last Call with Carson Daly”
Patty Griffin – “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” – rerun
Wednesday, March 17
Celtic Woman – “Live with Regis and Kelly”
One eskimO – “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”
The Swell Season – “The Bonnie Hunt Show”
Avril Lavigne, Sarah Colonna, Mo Mandel, Rove McManus – “Chelsea Lately”
Wanda Sykes, Loni Love – “Lopez Tonight”
Switchfoot – “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”
Gary Allan – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” – rerun
The XX – “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”
Snoop Dogg – “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”
Metric – “Last Call with Carson Daly”
Thursday, March 18
Jamie Cullum – “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”
Queen Latifah – “The Tavis Smiley Show”
Heather McDonald, John Caparulo, Ross Mathews – “Chelsea Lately”
Lucrecia featuring Andy Garcia – “Lopez Tonight”
Josh Turner – “Late Show with David Letterman” – rerun
Janet Jackson, Orianthi – “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”
Jonny Lang – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” – rerun
Gene Simmons – “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”
Wild Light – “Last Call with Carson Daly”
50 Cent – “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” – rerun
Friday, March 19
Chelsea Handler, Melanie Fiona – “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”
Jo Koy, Donnell Rawlings, Jen Kirkman – “Chelsea Lately” – rerun
Daniel Merriweather – “Late Show with David Letterman” – rerun
Barenaked Ladies – “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”
Ryan Bingham – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” – rerun
Kara DioGuardi, Air – “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”
311 – “Last Call with Carson Daly”
Ok Go – “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” – rerun