Photo by Mitchell Haaseth/NBC
The line-up is impressive. For the men there's Clay Aiken, Adam Carolla, Lou Ferrigno, Arsenio Hall, Penn Jillette, Dee Snider, George Takei, Michael Andretti and Paul Teutul, Sr. On the lady's side there's Cheryl Tiegs, Tia Carrere, Debbie Gibson, Victoria Gotti, Lisa Lampanelli, Teresa Giudice, Dayana Mendoza, Aubrey O'Day and Patricia Velásquez. While the boys have slightly more star power allegedly it's the women that bring all the drama this season.
In a recent conference call interview we spoke with Adam Carolla, Penn Jillete and Aubrey O'Day about what viewers can expect coming up. Aubrey (who reality TV fans know from Making the Band) compared this go around to years past. "It’s 1000 times better. This is the best season of Celebrity Apprentice there is. I’ve watched every season and I’ve never seen anything like it. And I’ve been on enough catfight dramatic shows to be someone that can say that."
And despite the fact that many of the contestants have seen the show before, they admit that there is really no way to ready themselves for what lies ahead. Adam conceded, "You learn pretty quickly that whatever you had planned at the beginning is probably only good for a couple of days and then it just becomes a Chinese fire drill. If you’re too rigid in your plan, you’re not going to be able to fully apply it to whatever it is you’re doing."
Penn agreed with Adam's sentiment. "My plan was actually from the philosopher Mike Tyson who said everyone has a plan until they get hit. And everybody does have a plan until they get hit. And the instant that something doesn’t go the way you planned, especially with this particular group of people, all plans go out the window… What is a little bit depressing about working on the show is that even people who suspend their morality completely and are willing to do anything, don’t do it well enough to do damage. I saw people who were willing to do anything to win and you could see that clearly that they had let go of their morality completely and they still didn’t win."
Aubrey added, "This show is about how good your ideas are, how well you can execute them and how well you can sell them. So at the end of the day whenever we can control as contestants you really can’t control that with a strategy. The strategy is be good at what you do and have the best idea."
Adam said the show all comes down to one thing. "It’s really just ego that keeps you moving — like having a staring contest or a push-up contest. I was out of gas about three days in. But looking around and seeing guys that are 20 years older than you, who have more energy than you, keeps you moving along. Seeing George Takei with a skip in his step forces you to stop complaining."
So what skills did the celebrities say they did use to propel themselves forward? Aubrey admitted, "I’m able to manipulate all the boys, right guys?" While Penn joked, "I would say my strong point is simply not to die."
Adam expanded on Penn's thought, "It is about survival… you’re not there to thrive. You’re there not to be eliminated and not to have a stroke. And I don’t want to give away too much but I was one of those things during the course of the show."
All joking aside, the stars did walk away from the series with new insight into themselves. Aubrey revealed, "I learned that I was a lot better at real-world jobs than I thought. When you’re in entertainment long enough you get used to the hustle and bustle of what it takes to survive in this world. And although it is a reality show and it’s something in an entertainment world, the jobs that we were doing were for actual companies and we were building products and branding and really creating a name for a company. It was a serious job and they were looking for serious results. And I think that it was really fun to be able to learn other things that I was good at."
Adam kidded that he walked away learning something slightly less profound. "I was basically a puss who couldn’t handle six and a half hours of sleep, six days a week, and needed a TiVo and/or DVR apparatus not more than three feet away from me no matter where I was. So for me I found my weaknesses instead of my inner strengths."
And in a hint at some of the looming drama, Penn simply stated, "I found that if I really focused and the stakes were really high I could stay in a room with Clay Aiken without swallowing my own tongue… My friends are just gob smacked that I didn’t just run out screaming."
Tune into the drama on Sunday, February 19 at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. Central for the premiere of The Celebrity Apprentice on NBC.
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