This morning, NBC opened up day one of two days of razzle dazzle at the winter press tour in Pasadena (TCA) with an intimate breakfast for TV critics along with table hopping panelists from the new "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice."
On Sunday, March 3rd, mogul Donald Trump returns with the first-ever ďAll Star Celebrity ApprenticeĒ featuring 14 of his favorite contestants from past seasons.
It worked for ABC "Dancing with the Stars" as "All-Star" do-overs equals great ratings, especially hopeful for NBC with the most maligned, mouthy and mercurial bunch the Donald ever hired on a show that is patently fixed, but has "a shred of nobility" according to participant Trace Adkins.
The premise of "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" is simple: Tale what worked before and compress the talent that made the best TV moments.
This is the sixth installment of the ďCelebrity ApprenticeĒ franchise and the 13th season of ďThe ApprenticeĒ overall. Produced by Mark Burnett in association with Trump Productions, this season features a new set of business driven challenges, and for the first time, one task will take all of the contestants out of New York City.
Interesting twist is that past winners Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers, John Rich and Arsenio Hall will act as boardroom advisers to Trump, along with returning stars Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump.
The "nobility" Adkins refers to is that the show does raise millions of dollars for charity each season, including a $250,000 bonus check for the winnerís chosen charity.
On panel today were Stephen Baldwin; Omarosa; executive producer Page Feldman, repping for Mark Burnett; Marilu Henner; Lil Jon; Penn Jillette; Lisa Rinna; Gary Busey and Trace Adkins.
Monsters and Critics asked the collective group to talk about their charities and why they selected them:
LIL JON: ... I was thinking about it, my mother had a stroke, and my mother has had diabetes, like, all her life, but I thought her diabetes was in remission. I didnít even know, so she didnít really let the family you know, she sometimes your parents donít want you to know whatís going on and all of that. So it made me say, ďYou know what? Maybe I should go back to help bring awareness for friends and family of people with diabetes.Ē Definitely want a cure for diabetes, but I think if we stay on top of our loved ones, make sure theyíre taking care of themselves and eating right and exercising, they can live longer. And then I also saw a documentary with Tribe Called Quest, and in the documentary one of the guys in the group, Phife, he has diabetes, and, you know, Iím a fan of Tribe Called Quest. I know Phife, and his struggle was he wasnít taking care of himself while they were doing their thing in hip hop. He lost a kidney, and his wife had to give him one of her kidneys. So those two things touched me, and it made me say, ďYou know what? I can come back and compete and help bring awareness for this disease.Ē
GARY BUSEY: Iíd like to talk about my charity. Itís called Busey Foundation for [Childrenís] Kawasaki Disease dot-org, and thatís where you can send your donations to. Kawasaki disease is a very rare disease. It comes without warning to strike children five months to five years. Itís coronary artery failure, and it has to do with the blood in the veins and the heart, and itís very rare, very rare. And Luke, my son, heís two years and 10 months, he had it two years ago when I was on ďCelebrity Apprentice,Ē and now heís well, and heís doing great. And thatís a foundation I have under the name of my son Luke to help kids who donít see it coming and help make that disease awareness make that disease aware for the parents of the children. Itís a very strong charity, and thatís another big reason I came to ďCelebrity Apprentice,Ē also, as I said before, I didnít have anything else to do.
TRACE ADKINS: In June of 2011 my house burned down, and I was in Alaska doing a show, and the Red Cross was there. The Red Cross showed up, took care of my family, and it really touched me. And I was ashamed of myself that I didnít know that the Red Cross responded to house fires. I thought they were like grand scale natural disasters, and that was about it, and I was ashamed of myself that I didnít know that they responded to 70,000 house fires a year. And the fact that they were there and took care of my family when I couldnít be there, I just felt like I owed them, and like Lil John, I held them off for a month or so, kept telling them, ďNo, Iím not ever going toĒ you know, the first time I was on ďThe Celebrity ApprenticeĒ was one of the most stressful periods of my adult life, and I didnít want to come back and do it again.
So it took my house burning down to get me to come back.
OMAROSA: Iím playing for Michael Clarke Duncan Charity, the Sue Duncan Childrenís Center on the South Side of Chicago. Michael actually was an alumni of the center, and they have 178 children, and they feed them. They give them clothes. They tutor them. So Iím playing for the love of my life, and I would hope that you would all go and look up Sue Duncan Childrenís Center and see the work that theyíre doing for those children in that community.
MARILU HENNER: Iím playing for the Alzheimerís Association. Iíve gotten involved with them recently because Iím part of a lot of the research for memories, you know, memory research thatís going on right now. And theyíre a wonderful organization because they not only are all about the research of taking care of the person who has Alzheimerís, but they also address the needs of the family and how much it changes. And itís such an epidemic right now, and thereís really no cure for it. Weíre just moving closer and closer to, not so much a cure, but understanding what causes it and the different other components, you know, whether itís nutrition, exercise, everything else thatís involved. So I wanted to play for them, and Iím very happy that I got to.
STEPHEN BALDWIN: Iím playing for the Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, and this is my second opportunity to do that, obviously. And a part of that in the new launch of 2013 is a partnership with a wonderful organization called So Lucky To Be Me. So if anybody were to Google search So Lucky To Be Me or go to Stephen Baldwin.com or Carol Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, theyíll see all of that as part of wanting to raise money for doing the research to find a cure for breast cancer and create more awareness about early detection. Thank you.
PENN JILLETTE: Iím playing for Opportunity Village, which is in Vegas. Itís for people with intellectual disabilities to try to train them to have jobs that none of us would want, to make them part of the community. Itís a new way of thinking of people with intellectual disabilities, not in terms of just warehousing them and making them comfortable, but making them part of our society and loving them and treating them properly. It was Elvisís charity. Elvis, when he used to pull those scarves out and wipe his face and throw them into the audience, those scarves were all made by Opportunity Village. If youíre against my charity, youíre against Elvis. If youíre against Elvis
youíre against the United States of America.
Itís as simple as that.
TRACE ADKINS: Here, here.
LISA RINNA: Iím playing for St. Jude Childrenís Research Hospital, and I think that pretty much speaks for itself. No child is ever turned away. They do amazing, amazing work with families for years to come until the cancer is gone or they continue to work with the families. Itís an amazing, amazing charity. Itís the first charity 25 years ago that I ever raised money for, and so when I was asked back to do this show which, of course, I said absolute no. I would never come back and do the show also, because I had failed so miserably the first time my 11 year old daughter actually said to me, ďMom, I think you need to go back. I think you need to fix it, and I think you should go play for St. Jude Childrenís Research Hospital.Ē So there you go.