NBC has finally revealed the celebrities chosen to compete on The Celebrity Apprentice, information that I’ve had in my head for a month, but wasn’t able to reveal till now. On the day they were secretly introduced to the press, I had signed an embargo agreement which could penalize me a million dollars if the information slipped from my hands. Since I don’t have the Victoria’s Secret diamond bra in my drawer as collateral, I kept my mouth shut.

Donald Trump sat beside the motley crew of actors, rock legends, athletes and media darlings who would be competing under his instruction and have the chance to raise up to $1,000,000 for their favorite charities.

After their brief introductions, the floor was open for questions, and it was my inquiry of why the contestants had wanted to be on the show that really got the panel talking. “I did it for redemption,” said former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth. “I was kind of notorious when I was back in the boardroom and I didn’t want to leave on that note…It’s a chance for America to see the softer, gentler, more determined Omarosa,” to which contestant Piers Morgan, the curmudgeonly judge from America’s Got Talent, joked, “I did it because I heard [Omarosa] was really good fun to work with.” Spokesmodel and activist Carol Alt wanted to dedicate her potential winnings to alternative cancer research in memory of her brother, who died a year and a half ago.

Donald praised the existing successes of his competition panel. “We had over 125 celebrities begging us to be on this show and we just couldn’t take them,” he explained. “The hardest thing we had was breaking it down to this 14.” The winning contestant will donate a $250,000 cash prize to their favorite charity.

The presentation adjourned and I spoke briefly with UFC champion Tito Ortiz, who explained to me the difference between a boxer and an ultimate fighter, and finally heard the bellowing voice of country singer Trace Adkins, who had stayed eerily silent during the panel. I also learned where Omarosa loves to shop. “The Marshalls on 125th Street in Harlem, that’s where I got these,” she exclaimed, referring to the furry slippers she had slipped on her feet after towering in four-inch heels.

This is one power trip I won’t want to miss.

The remaining players are: actor and religious activist Stephen Baldwin; boxing champion Lennox Lewis; Sopranos star Vincent Pastore; reality rock star Gene Simmons; Olympic gold medalists Jennie Finch and Nadia Comaneci, actor and spokesperson Marilu Henner, Playboy Playmate of the Year Tiffany Fallon and The Swan creator and producer Nely Galan.

 
The Celebrity Apprentice
premieres Jan. 3 at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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