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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Who won ‘Celebrity Apprentice’? Marlee Matlin or John Rich?

John Rich CREDIT: NBC

John Rich CREDIT: NBC

John Rich winning

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John Rich, the Nashville country producer and singer, lassoed the fourth season of “Celebrity Apprentice” with hard work, focus and leadership.

Donald Trump picked Rich over deaf Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin.

In the end, Rich raised more than $1 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Both played the game smart. Matlin raised $1 million on one challenge, more than anybody ever has, for the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Rich focused not just on raising money but coming up with creative ideas and winning two challenges for his charity as project manager before the finale.

Rich in that last challenge seemed to have his act together consistently in terms of leadership skills vs. Marlee. But Marlee’s presentation went off with virtually no hitches. Rich started his Def Leppard presentation 20 minutes early. Awkward! He filled the time by riffing a few minutes with music before introducing them again.

While Trump is prone to exaggeration, it can be fairly argued that this was the most entertaining of the four “celebrity” versions of “The Apprentice.” There were conflicts galore. David Cassidy vs. Richard Hatch. Star Jones vs. Lisa Rinna. NeNe Leakes vs. Star Jones. Meat Loaf vs. Gary Busey. NeNe vs. LaToya Jackson. Dionne Warwick was a sourpuss. Jose Canseco was lazy. Meat Loaf was overly emotional. It was fun week most weeks.

During the live portion, Cassidy felt some level of “vindication” that Hatch was in jail (yet again) for tax evasion and wasn’t able to make it.

“It’s a competition,” Jones said about battling Rinna. “Bring your A game.”

“I don’t like responding to that person,” Rinna said.

Trump then lets Busey talk and the crowd titters as he natters on about “neurolinguistic programming” and being able to read people. And he wants to re-sell his story about Omaha Steaks and that kite.

He also gives credit for giving Atlanta’s Lil Jon more exposure. Lil Jon during the show clearly got sick of Busey. “Now that I had a break from Gary, he’s good people,” he said.

There was an entire segment showing NeNe’s biggest outbursts. “I don’t regret leaving because I did what was best for me at the time,” she said. ” About Star: ”I don’t hold grudges.” Jones’ responses: “I was disheartened as I watched the episodes unfolded. She used this platform to attack every single black woman on the show.”

“It’s not a racial thing,” NeNe said.

“Here we go again!” Busey said.

“As a professional woman, I was embarrassed,” Star said, of NeNe’s behavior.

LaToya giggled. Why did she end up on Team NeNe? “Star was using NeNe as her mouthpiece,’ she said.  “NeNe deep down has a good heart and I forgave her for what she said.”

Star will become friends “when pigs fly.”

The no-shows besides Hatch on the live show: Warwick and Canseco.

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

106 comments Add your comment

Jaye

May 23rd, 2011
12:22 am

As an FYI, St Jude’s Children’s Hospital is in Memphis, not Nashville.

annie

May 23rd, 2011
1:33 am

Congrats to John Rich 4 winning Celebrity Apprentice – best choice!! Enjoyed this season.

Bored

May 23rd, 2011
1:36 am

It was a fun season. Where was Dionne during the finale — she was a no-show! Nobody even mentioned her. We knew Jose is looking after his sick father, Richard is in prison, etc. Maybe she’d had enough.

It was a tough call between Marlee and John Rich. Either could’ve been the Celebrity Apprentice at the end. Both were hard workers and had good focus, and both were passionate about their charities.

Unfortunately, reality shows have morphed into this whole “who can be the biggest villain” thing. People want drama, and that’s what reality shows deliver these days. It’s all about who can bring the biggest catfight, who can exaggerate situations, and who can yell the loudest. When the cameras start rolling, people on reality shows seem to lose their minds. We’re now just expectant of fighting — when you hear that Person A is going to be on a show with Person B, we automatically start envisioning fighting between the 2. A competition is a competition, but apparently, to be on a reality show, it has to involve catfights and creation of ongoing feuds. In “old Hollywood,” legendary feuds were created between stars over getting coveted roles in movies — now, it’s all on a much lower level.

Let’s see what kind of cast Mr. Trump cooks up for the next season — how many hot-heads can he match up next??

None

May 23rd, 2011
1:41 am

John would not have won without Lil Jon ,very impressed by Lil Jon’s creativity,coolness.

Iris Gross

May 23rd, 2011
1:42 am

Jose Canseco’s father died in early March (Google that), so he had no sick father to look after, first of all. But I would like to know why Dionne and Jose were missing, especially Dionne since she was on one of the Morning talk shows saying she would be at the finale. I’m very glad John Rich won. He’s everything Star & NeNe were not. He was passionate and ruthless for his causes without being an ass about it. Marlee earned a lot of respect tonight too. Can only imagine how disappointed she was. Both are very worthy causes.

jj

May 23rd, 2011
2:36 am

Nene should not have been there. She quit. Quitters don’t get to return for the glory.
I lost all respect for David Cassidy. Richard Hatch contributed a whole lot more in the time he was there than Cassidy ever did. Cassidy has been in and out of jail on DUI charges, and has let his life go to pot (pun intended), who is he to be judging anyone?
John deserved to win. He earned it. Marlee did a great job too. Both were very talented and very driven. Great outcome all around.

J.R.

May 23rd, 2011
3:00 am

Marlee was great and I’m glad that it came down to those two. John Rich deserved to win. He showed drive, creativity, and focus, and carried himself with class through the whole season. Well done Mr. Rich! And St Jude is a wonderful hospital for children, and they deserve all the support they can get.

angie

May 23rd, 2011
3:40 am

perhaps i heard inaccurately, but what was the deal with trump saying he was going to do something different right before announcing the winner? Did anyone else understand or catch that?

Mitzymy

May 23rd, 2011
4:40 am

I will never watch this show again. This season was the first that I had watched since I watched the very first show, and didn’t like the results at that time. Donald Trump is very prejudiced and doesn’t try to hide it. I am a white CEO and I don’t like it because we have to use talented people of all nationalities to make our businesses successful. He used the African-American ladies to boost his ratings and then booted them off the show when it came down to make a final decision on the winner. On his very first show he picked a white nobody with no education over an African-American Harvard graduate with an MBA and business experience. During his phony campaign for president, he called them ” the Blacks”. I am through with any show that he has anything to do with. He is living in the past and will never change.

Jon Wailin

May 23rd, 2011
4:43 am

If this season accomplished nothing more, entertainment-wise, it brought enlightenment to a whole new generation of music lovers in their discovery of Meatloaf. No doubt his “greatest Hits” double Cd flew off store shelves over the last month or so. A Mega-talent to be enjoyed by folks not even born when he first hit the charts, and for those of us who were there at the beginning of his career, a real treat to see him in this different setting.

diana

May 23rd, 2011
5:09 am

Ive been thinking the same thing after I watched the 1st season and now when I recently saw him on the Today Show

diana

May 23rd, 2011
5:10 am

in ref. 2 mitzymy

UT96

May 23rd, 2011
6:40 am

Mitzymy, I was wondering how long it would take before someome had to bring the race card into play. First, Trump used the word “black” because; well, they are black. They are US citizens, Not African citizens. Therefore, African-American does not apply to any black citizen of the US no more than English-American applys to me because I’m white. Furthermore, the reason there hasn’t been a black winner of apprentice is because there hasn’t been any black who deserved it sans, maybe Holly Robinson Peete over Brett Michaels. You seriously need to get over yourself and drop the whole race issue. It’s people like you that makes people of ther ethnicities not want to take blacks seriously for any reason.

Zara

May 23rd, 2011
6:43 am

Angie, this time Mr. Trump didn’t say the word “You are fired” to Marlee. He just announced, the winner for this season is….
Great season..I really this season’s shows.

Atl48

May 23rd, 2011
7:05 am

UT96 , you are pathetic. (1) Ask yourself, from what continent do most black persons in this country originate?; (2) ask yourself, from what continent (not country) do most whites in this country originate? If Trump referred to African Americans as “the Blacks” why did he not refer to European Americans as “the Whites”? You say “there hasn’t been any black who deserved” to win. How many centuries has that excuse been used in this country?

Dump Trump

May 23rd, 2011
7:24 am

No surprise here – John Rich is as Rupublican as they come. Trump no doubt felt a kinship with the red state red neck.

bevvie

May 23rd, 2011
7:26 am

Star was absolutely right about NeNe! She did attack each of the black female team members. And she attacked at least one or two (Hope) of the white females. NeNe is just an attacker! But she did not go off on any of the men! Which is why she probably left (in addition to the fact that she had little to contribute). John Rich and Lil Jon were not going to put up with her craziness! Congrats to John Rich! Lil Jon also did a great job throughout! Marlee did well, but she was sneaky. She set up a lot of the conflicts on the women’s team and then sort of sat back and let the others do the dirty work. John Rich and Lil Jon played cleaned; therefore, I am glad that John Rich won!

Denise

May 23rd, 2011
7:32 am

They were both great contenders! But a big country congratulations to Mr John Rich!

tim

May 23rd, 2011
7:36 am

Now that Rich won…..can he finally take off his hat??

Carol

May 23rd, 2011
7:37 am

First time I watched Celeb. Appr.( due to the choice of the cast ). I thoroughly enjoyed every episode and was rooting for John Rich or Lil John. John Rich’s winning was well-deserved and his charity touches my heart.

Melanie

May 23rd, 2011
7:37 am

Congratulations to Mr. Rich and St. Jude. My mom is a huge fan of the show and I watched part of one episode with her. Have no idea who Nene is but was most disappointed in Star Jones. The interaction between the two women was not entertaining at all. I used to respect her but here she seemed to sink to the lowest level instead of the class act she was when she left “The View”.

PD

May 23rd, 2011
7:38 am

Mitzymy, I find it quite odd that you have no problem calling “Whites” whites, yet you find it very appalling calling “Blacks” black!! I am certanly glad I don’t work for whatever company you are CEO of, as I have a feeling that you are the type to only promote on ethnic origin as oppose to qualifications.

terri

May 23rd, 2011
7:40 am

anti-climatic

terri

May 23rd, 2011
7:43 am

@ angie, i heard that as well, that is why i said anti-climatic, what did he mean? b’cause all he did was announce the winner as usual….

Bob Decker

May 23rd, 2011
7:43 am

To answer the question of what Trump did different right before he announced the winner was, he did not fire anyone, he just announced the winner.

No clue

May 23rd, 2011
7:47 am

ATL48 – no, YOU are pathetic.

99% of all “African-Americans” did not live in Africa. If they don’t like just being “Americans”, then they can go back to the land of their ancestors in a poor, third world nation in Africa.

I’m an AMERICAN and proud of it.

AnnaMae

May 23rd, 2011
7:56 am

I must say that the segment that was shown on NeNe was the most embarrasing and humilating part of the show. She should have been ashamed to see herself acting that way. I don’t see how she could have sat through that and feel justified!!!! She is a disgrace and for her to be considered a “celebrity” is very, very sad. She had NOTHING to contribute to this show other than DRAMA!

Teresa Spotts

May 23rd, 2011
8:03 am

Well deserved for John Rich for being a good player, and raising that kind on money for charity. A real team player. As for NeNe, what a disgrace for all women, white or black, not all women catogorize or label each other in color, but as women!

Ugh

May 23rd, 2011
8:06 am

Dayum ya’ll. Good grief. Who give’s a ratz dodo?! Trump sucks. He proved it. He put Nene on tbe show for ratings. He got them. He added Star and Latoya. People tune in for that even after this idiot took a jab at the president only to knocked out. (Way to go Mr. President…lol). I will no longer watch the show because Donald is a Chump.

pw

May 23rd, 2011
8:08 am

@Mitzymy – I think you hit it dead on. I have not watched this show since the very first season as well. @PD – Trump said “the blacks” as if we were a diffent species or something.

Listen folks – don’t give Trump any more of your time or attention because he deserves none of it. Take those hours back and do something useful and constructive. Anything he does is only for his own benefit.

Ugh

May 23rd, 2011
8:11 am

edited:
Dayum ya’ll. Good grief. Who give’s a ratz dodo?! Trump sucks. He proved it. He put Nene on tbe show for ratings. He got them. He added Star and Latoya. People tune in for that even after this idiot took a jab at the president only to get knocked out. (Way to go Mr. President…lol). I will no longer watch the show because Donald is a Chump.

Teresa Spotts

May 23rd, 2011
8:19 am

very disappointed in the character of David Cassidy about Richard Hatch going to jail. though Richard Hatch has a problem,this I never expected from who once was adored as a kind person and a teen idol ,very disrespectful, considering his own run in’s with the law during his lifetime! Clean out your own backyard before cleaning mine!!!

ATLPeach

May 23rd, 2011
8:24 am

“African-American does not apply to any black citizen of the US”

So, if our president’s father was African and his mother American, wouldn’t he qualify as African-American?

Such an ignorant statement.

“…yet you find it very appalling calling “Blacks” black!!”

Umm, he called blacks “the blacks”. Never heard him say “the whites”.

The Nerd

May 23rd, 2011
8:36 am

Pathetic! Purly pathetic as it may see! But, since I have watching The Miss USA and Universe Pageants for years, I’m committed to watch both of them and, if it’s on TV, Miss Teen USA.

Tommy

May 23rd, 2011
8:45 am

It was a great season. I am glad that John Rich won because he fought for not only his charity but others peoples as well. He brought in stars, thought out of the box as much on his teammates task as did his won. I also was impressed with Lil Jon and his class. He said he want to “disspell the sterotype of a typical rapper” and did that. I think he and John formed a real bond.
Having two black brothers ot saddens me that there are people that there entire life hinge on a reference of black, colored, or african-americans. It is like you are walking on egg shells on how to refer to you. My brothers aren’t from africa their from Georgia. If refered to I call them black as do they. Actually their skin color is brown like mine.
What about the hispanis? We all don’t mind calling them mexicans, do we? Granted thier not all from Mexico. Do we have to start asking what country your from before we speak. Or do we just call them short brown people would “YOU” be happy with that? Propbly so!
I think its time to call people what they are ….. people. Quit being a chump.

tony

May 23rd, 2011
8:59 am

all those arguing for Trump and his racism are making me laugh…they keep asking what is the problem with him calling “blacks” black…he did not call us black…HE CALLED US “THE BLACKS”. This may not mean anything to you and but to us, it is disrespectful.

You may not be able to relate but please dont be dismissive and disrespectful. That is what Trump did.

As for those of you saying if you dont like it go back to your country/continent of choice….Do you hear yourself? I hope you dont have kids raising them with that mindset!!!!!!

America would be a better place IF everyone put themselves in other’s shoes and sometimes decide to be quiet when they dont understand or agree. Instead, we have to be heard and confrontational.

This is a great country but the people in it make it a very weak country!

DISAPPOINTED.COM

WHY??????

May 23rd, 2011
9:02 am

Please comment only the article. The Black vs. White thing has already been sorta done….back in the 60’s-70’s…LET IT GO!!!!

Scott

May 23rd, 2011
9:22 am

How pathetic is it when you can’t overcome your own ego enough to appear on the finale when charity is the ultimate objective?

Atlantan

May 23rd, 2011
9:22 am

Scratching my head on this hyphenated African-American term. The “N” word was used to describe ????? for years. That word was derived from Spanish, Portuguese and French words that meant black. The “N” word became a sore point, so the next descriptive word for ????? was Negro …also meaning black that came from other languages. That word fell in with the “N” word, so it became unacceptable. The next descriptive term was colored…also wrong…then black ….wrong again…and currently it is African-American. Can the race that is usually darker in pigment than other races pick a panel that can come up with a single word describing them that will suffice for several generations.

KimTyme

May 23rd, 2011
9:31 am

I lost all respect for faux-billionaire and no-real estate owning Donald Trump this season. I will not ever watch him or his shows again. (John Rich owes much of his success to Lil Jon)

Tim

May 23rd, 2011
9:40 am

UT96, you need to check the history of “The Apprentice”… there was an African-American (Black) man with an earned doctorate that won “The Apprentice”… Trump said at that season finale that the winner lead with kindness… The winner (cannot remember his name right now, but I will look it up) took some heat when he didn’t agree with Trump’s idea of hiring the woman whom he defeat (cannot remember her name,either) as another apprentice. Check your history before posting ignorant statements…

Atlantan

May 23rd, 2011
9:41 am

Lil Jon could have easily won. He had all the smarts and ambition to do so. John and Marlee are great competitors, but one thing Lil Jon had more of than the others was the willingness to be a team player. That was something to me that stood out week after week. He stood by his ideas and convictions, but when the framework was laid he never tried to sabotage the other team players….unlike many do each year.

Cammi317

May 23rd, 2011
9:45 am

I had no idea who John Rich was before this season of Celebrity Apprentice, but he won me over early on. Congratulations! @Atlantan, no one person can speak for the rest. We are individuals in many different shades of brown. However, way back when, someone decided that only Native Americans could be called brown. I prefer “of color”, but in general I use black. Technically my skin is not “black” nor have I ever came across an actual “white” person, but I don’t like the term “African-American” at all so I go with black.

JerseyGirl

May 23rd, 2011
9:47 am

Atlantan:

Apparently, you don’t know your history.

All of the so-called description for the black race were given to us by whites. Since the majority of blacks (their ancestors) originated from Africa, hence the name Africa-American.

Yes, other nationalites also uses hypenated terms: Italian-American, Irish-American, etc.

Just Me

May 23rd, 2011
9:51 am

A BLACK PERSON DID WIN APPRENTICE! Season three maybe? It was Randall, and this was no token, he was the most intelligent, cool, calm, collected and pleasant person on that season. Everyone respected him and he killed the challenges and other competitors. He continued to work with Trump for a number of years after that season.

Marie

May 23rd, 2011
10:00 am

There is nothing more unsettling to me then when some white liberal like mitzymy portends to “speak truth to power” by thinking they know what offends black. I have been black all my life and I have no problem with whites using the word “blacks” to describe our are. Up until the late 1980s and 1990s the preferred term to be used to call blacks was Black Americans and not African Americans.

As far as Trump being prejuidiced against blacks because of this show is just plain nonsense. First of all on every Apprentice series whites will outnumber blacks and other minorities so it stands to reason that the odds are greater that a white person will win. Secondly, where are the complaints that he has never hired an Asian, Hispanic, Arabic or other minorities for the Apprentice even though there have been representatives from these ethnicities on the Apprentice series? And why don’t shows like Project Runway get hit with charges of racial bias since most of their winners have been white. Is it because Heidi Klum is a pretty white girl married to an African so no one will ever accuse of her racial bias? However, Donald Trump is automatically like most wealthy white CEOS automatically painted with a broad brush of being prejudiced, selfish, and out of touch.

The only black to win the Apprentice, Randall Pickard was not only educated but he was intelligent, focused, articulate and he WON all his projects. He had the respect of everyone on both teams because he was just a good guy. He made it very difficult for Trump not to hire him. He’s probably old school like me in which we were taught by our parents and teachers that if you want to get ahead in like as a black woman or man that you become excellent in every way that a potential employer will have no reason not to hire you. But this constant whining about race is getting past tired.

I don’t know w

Atlantan

May 23rd, 2011
10:22 am

Hi Jersey Girl …Glad you were not a teacher of mine. History had nothing to do with my post. Origin did. Nowhere in my post did I say who assigned the words that describe “African-Americans” ….only the origin of the words and at that particular point in time theses words were acceptable. Those words have fallen 1 by 1 into a vile pit and because of ?. Also, I do not know 1 person of a different race other than African-Americans that use an hyphenated name to describe them self. Please tell me why you are so enamored with “your” African ancestors anyway.

Meh

May 23rd, 2011
10:25 am

Lil Jon took himself out of it by not fighting for it last week when the 4 were whittled down to 2. It was a shame because he really shouldn’t have discounted himself.

John Rich deserved the win.

Dionne really showed her backside through this journey. She was wise to stay home; NeNe should have followed suit.

A~

May 23rd, 2011
10:37 am

Can we get back to topic? I was rooting for both of them because it is the charities they were playing for that really mattered. They both did well this season. Every reality show brings in eccentric people to cause drama…I can’t think of one that doesn’t. The only thing that bugged me about John Rich was when he came out after Marlee and didn’t even bother to shake anyone’s hand that had helped him…

TG

May 23rd, 2011
10:50 am

I thoroughly enjoyed this season. And I am a new fan of John Rich (I think I might have a little crush, lol. He’s just so confident and respectful and competent, a great example of how to be in life!). I was not impressed with Marlee throughout the season, but I think she did a great job “speaking” at her final event and “singing” the song with Rich on the finale. I absolutely loved seeing them, along with the deaf kids, perform that song! It was just beautfiul to me.

Re trashbox NeNe, I agree with someone else, she had no business being there. She quit. I don’t understand the appeal of her to people like Trump and LaToya Jackson (whose alliance with her makes no sense and makes you lose respect for LaToya, makes her seem even faker if that’s possible.) Star did not come across as a humble or particularly caring person per se, but she was treated unfairly by Trump when she was fired and at the finale when she was not allowed to answer his questions because the trashbox kept yelling over her. Also, the Cassidy guy has issues. His response to Hatch being in prison was weird and I’m sure others in the audience were cringing like I was, seeing a grown man act like a little kid like that. Ugh

Anywho, I liked this season.