Donald Trump is the Don King of television. That is, he talks a big game and oversensationalizes his projects to the nth degree. In pitching the latest twist on one of his shows, The Apprentice, the real-estate-mogul-turned-television-producer was trying to lure some big-name celebrities onto the new star-studded version.
Among the names bandied about was the holy trinity of ho-rrific Hollywood: Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Britney Spears. While those seemed realistically out of reach, TVGuide.com reported that Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Charisma Carpenter had signed on to the show as the first confirmed celebrity. Other names rumored to be on the shortlist were Carmen Electra, Tony Hawk, Joan Rivers, and George Foreman.
NBC today revealed the official list of celebrity contestants, and none of the aforementioned names were included. As for the list of "celebrities," fans may want to have their Googling skills handy, as the list of participants aren't exactly household names.
The following is a list of the 14 celebrity contestants, followed by why they are considered celebrities.
Trace Adkins--country music star
Carol Alt--former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model
Stephen Baldwin--actor in The Usual Suspects, Bio-Dome
Nadia Comaneci--Romanian Olympic gymnast
Tiffany Fallon--Playboy's Playmate of the Year in 2005
Jennie Finch--Olympic softball player and Fox sports broadcaster
Nely Galán--former president of Telemundo
Marilu Henner--actress in Taxi
Lennox Lewis--former heavyweight champion boxer of the world
Omarosa--former Apprentice star
Piers Morgan--America's Got Talent judge
Tito Ortiz--UFC champion, boyfriend of porn star Jenna Jameson
Vincent Pastore--actor in The Sopranos
Gene Simmons--OMG! Gene Simmons! (long-tongued KISS guitarist)
The Celebrity Apprentice will begin airing Thursdays starting January 3. All contestants will be working for charities, with the winner handing a check for $250,000 to the charity of their choice.
The contestants may be changing, but the rules remain the same. Trump will offer various challenges to the celebrities to test their business acumen, with their results judged by The Donald and his children Ivanka and Donald Jr. New to this season will be a "rotating seat" that will be occupied by "famous business leaders and industry legends."