It’s time to get back to business as Donald Trump puts away his presidential aspirations (if he ever really had any) and returns to the role for which we know and love him best — chairman of the boardroom on “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
The new season gets underway Sunday, Feb. 19, with a two-hour premiere episode starting at 9/8c on NBC. What’s new this time around? Well, most notably, the ranks of the “celebrity” contestants have swelled to 18 (up from 15), which is a goodly number for any reality series with the word “Celebrity” in its name.
And, as usual, the application of that word — “celebrity” — to these contestants is debatable, but that’s mostly because the nature of celebrity has changed so much recently. Once upon a time, a “celebrity” was a person pretty much known universally to just about everyone.
Now, a “celebrity” can still be that famous, but a person can still be a celebrity if he or she is well-known to a specific segment of people. On “The Celebrity Apprentice” premiere — which we watched on a preview DVD the other day — contestant Aubrey O’Day, a pop singer, makes this plain when she brags that she has more Twitter followers than any other female contestant on the show. Add that to the list of elements defining “celebrity” today: Gotta lotta Twitter followers? Then you’re famous.
Famous or not, the personalities on the show bring more than their fair share of bravado and bravada. They’re all extroverts, which is a good thing because introverts make for boring TV shows.
Without spoiling anything, here are a couple of observations about the show that we noticed while watching the premiere:
As mentioned in some of the stories that have appeared lately in the run-up to the season premiere, the men do indeed seem to cooperate more with each other than the women (it’s men vs. women as the show gets underway).
Among the male contestants showing leadership qualities in the early going: “American Chopper” patriarch Paul Teutel, Penn Jillette and Clay Aiken. Yes, Clay Aiken.
On the female side, we’re fascinated by Victoria Gotti, the famous daughter of the late mob boss John Gotti (we don’t have to say “alleged”; he was tried and convicted, OK?), and Teresa Giudice, the “Real” housewife of New Jersey. Think these two will clash? We don’t think so. In fact, we think they’ll turn out to be among the most stable of all the women on the show.
One guy we’re not really understanding at the moment: The Donald himself. Here’s a guy who almost ran for President of the United States, and here he is anchoring “The Celebrity Apprentice” like he’s Jeff Probst in a business suit. We’ll say this: As a TV character, Trump has few peers in prime time these days.
“The Celebrity Apprentice” premieres Sunday, Feb. 19, at 9/8c on NBC.