Though the names leaked out months ago since this was taped in New York City last fall, the “Celebrity Apprentice” cast was officially announced by Donald Trump today. The show debuts Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. and includes the usual mix of musicians, supermodels, reality-show contestants, comics, athletes and actors.
To succeed in this show, you need a combination of determination, energy, creativity, wits, a strategic mind and a deep Rolodex. Here’s the list, which does not include anybody I see with any direct Atlanta connections. (Correct me if I’m wrong on that count):
Clay Aiken 32, is the first “American Idol’ contestant to ever participate and rumors are that he does very very well. How often do you get to see the season two runner up in a suit?
Michael Andretti, 24: former IndyCar series driver. Son to racing legend Mario Andretti. I don’t know anything about this guy’s personality or business acumen. [Had to correct this. Had his son Marco listed originally.]
Tia Carrere, 44: This actress was Wayne’s hot rocker chick girlfriend in “Wayne’s World,” and a former “Dancing With the Stars” contestant, where she finished sixth season two back in 2006. I don’t know enough about her off-camera persona to judge how well she’d do with these types of challenges.
Adam Carolla, 47: comedian, podcaster, actor and former co-host of syndicated radio show “Love Line” with Dr. Drew Pinsky. He also is a recycled “Dancing With the Stars” contestant, finishing ninth season 6 in 2008. He strikes me as a smart, sarcastic guy who could rub some people the wrong way, which could also make for good TV.
Lou Ferrigno, 59: Actor and bodybuilder. He’s best known as the star of “The Incredible Hulk” and played a funny fictional version of himself in the film “I Love You Man.” He seems like a sharp tool and could be quite entertaining.
Debbie Gibson, 41: 80′s pop star. Her hits include “Only in My Dreams,” “Lost In Your Eyes,” “Foolish Beat” and “Shake Your Love.” She has acted in theater and films (”Mega Python vs. Gatoroid” with Tiffany last year on Syfy!) And reality show buffs might recall her as a judge on “American Juniors,” the “Idol” spinoff in 2003 and “Skating With Celebrities” on Fox in 2006. She seems to have a good sense of humor about herself and has managed to keep
herself in the spotlight over the years.
Teresa Giudice, 39: cast member of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” She seems likable and smart but tough as nails. She could be a wild card.
Victoria Gotti, 48: author, star of short-lived A&E reality show “Growing Up Gotti,” and daughter of mobster John Gotti. Does anybody want to mess with the daughter of a mob boss? Will she and Teresa get along or could this be the clash of the accents?
Arsenio Hall, 55: Former late-night host. Since his celebrated talk-show stint two decades ago, Hall hasn’t approached nearly that level of celebrity since then, dabbling in various unsuccessful TV shows and a brief stint as a host of “Star Search” in 2003. Who knows if he is sharp enough to keep Trump happy?
Penn Jillette, 56: Comedian and illusionist. Half of Penn and Teller. The magician has had plenty of TV time over the years, including Showtime’s “BS” and the current Discovery show “Penn & Teller Tell a Lie.” He was also (gasp!) a former “Dancing With the Stars” contestant, ousted week one the same season as Adam Corolla. He seems intuitively bright and could go far in this show.
Lisa Lampanelli, 50: Comedian. Frequent Comedy Central roaster. She’s loud, brash and obnoxious, perfect fodder for a reality show like this. Think NeNe Leakes. The producers will demand she stick around as long as possible to torment the others.
Dayana Mendoza, 25: Miss Universe in 2008. From Venezuela. Every season, Trump demands eye candy, typically someone we’ve never heard of. And that’s the case here. Based on past experience, she’ll probably stay under the radar, get used as a pawn by others, then get eliminated halfway through.
Aubrey O’Day, 27: Singer. Former member of Diddy’s Danity Kane and reality star of her own show “All About Aubrey” on Oxygen. Like Carrerre, she has modeled in Playboy. More eye candy to say the least.
Dee Snider, 56: Twisted Sister frontman. He showed up on an episode last season. He has a huge, over-the-top personality, perfectly cast for “Celebrity Apprentice.” Good bet he’ll be around awhile.
George Takei, 74: Sulu on “Star Trek” and gay rights activist. Having interviewed him before, he is very wry and will go in with a very jovial attitude. But I’m not sure he has the energy or eye of the tiger to go all the way on a show like this.
Paul Teutul, Sr, 62: Star of the Discovery Channel’s American Chopper. He is a tough dude with a temper and used to cameras. But can that translate into success in the boardroom? Doubtful.
Cheryl Tiegs, 64: Actress and former supermodel. Supermodels aren’t necessarily the archetypes who excel on “Celebrity Apprentice.” She is facing off against some very big personalities and could get run over. Then again, supermodels are built to be under-estimated.
Patricia Velásquez, 40, actress and supermodel who acted in “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns.” Yes. Trump likes supermodels. Here’s another one! I have no clue if she has what it takes to face off against the likes of Dee Snider and the mob gals.
Here’s Clay’s video on the website explaining why he’d be good on the show and the charity he is working for: