After eight long months, Donald Trump is once again dishing out tough love and firing incompetent D-listers on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.” Season 14 of the "Apprentice" franchise (technically Season 7 for "Celebrity Apprentice") premiered Sunday with a new crop of 16 celebs vying for a shot at raising awareness and $250,000 for a charity of their choice.
The two-hour premiere didn’t break from the show’s usual structure. The contestants were divided by gender and told to choose a team name (the men chose “Vortex” and the women, “Infinity”). After that, the business-savvy celebrities were given their first task. To test their effectiveness in the business world, Trump had the teams hold a bake sale and hit up their rich friends for money.
Geraldo Rivera didn’t disappoint the men’s team as its designated project manager. The veteran journalist, who TV Line notes took every opportunity to compare this first challenge to his time covering war-torn nations, led his team to victory raising significantly more money selling pies than the women’s team. This prompted a dramatic showdown for the women in the boardroom, but before we get to that, it’s worth mentioning that the boys also had their fair share of drama.
Despite Rivera coordinating the team's win, Kevin Jonas wasn’t thrilled with the way he handled his leadership role. For starters, according to Entertainment Weekly, the Jonas brother eye-rolled his distaste for Rivera’s pitch for the team name -- “Vortex? For real?"
The budding Jonas/Rivera feud didn’t end there. Jonas wasn’t above calling out his project manager’s leadership skills in and out of the boardroom, questioning many of his decisions as well as his ability to motivate. But the episode's biggest drama centered around the ladies' project manager Keshia Knight Pulliam, when she refused to call her former TV dad for a donation. Pulliam is best known for playing Rudy Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.” Both her team and Trump took issue with her not reaching out to Bill Cosby for money -- which might be understandable now, but this season of “Celebrity Apprentice” was filmed several months ago, before the 77-year-old comedian’s reputation was tarnished by multiple allegations of sexual assault. Cosby’s name loomed large over the episode thanks to its recent unfortunate resonance. However, at the time of the competition, Cosby’s name carried a lot of weight and could very well have been the shot in the arm that team Infinity needed to edge out the men.
When the women finally sat in the boardroom with someone’s head on the chopping block, they were quick to offer up their project manager. In the end, Trump couldn’t reconcile Pulliam’s decision not to call Cosby for money and delivered the words that fans have been waiting to hear for months: “You’re fired.”
“Celebrity Apprentice” is having a big week. After a two-hour premiere Sunday night, the show will air again at its normal time on NBC – Monday at 8 p.m. EST. Four hours of “Celebrity Apprentice” in two days? We’re in.