Donald Trump returns with the first ever “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” on Sunday, March 3, 2013. This is the sixth installment of “The Celebrity Apprentice” and the thirteenth season of “The Apprentice” series. This season, fourteen of your favorite business-savvy celebrity contestants return for a second chance to raise money and awareness for their charity of choice. The last person standing will be chosen as the Celebrity Apprentice and have the honor of delivering a $250,000 bonus check to their designated charity. The show’s executive producer and star Donald J. Trump along with entertainment icon La Toya Jackson, Poison front man Bret Michaels, also winner of the third season of Celebrity Apprentice took out some time to chat with Media Mikes about this season, their charities and what we can expect.
We all know that drama sells in this TV reality. Is this the most dramatic season yet?
Donald Trump: Well I’ll speak first. I think it’s certainly one of the most dramatic seasons. We have tremendous interest in the season and including Bret and La Toya, we have brought back some of the people that everybody really likes because it’s an All Star season. And I think yes, it’s a very dramatic season, amazing things happen. La Toya and Bret, go ahead.
La Toya Jackson: You have no idea, it’s very dramatic, it’s very exciting. There is so much going on. And you will see a lot of confrontations. It’s going to be a blast, you’ll love it. You will simply love it, everyone will.
Bret Michaels: I have found that as being there the first time it was something I really wanted to do. I had an absolutely great time and coming back obviously it is extremely dramatic and you’ll just have to watch because it will keep you riveted.
Bret, after winning Celebrity Apprentice in season three, did you feel like you had an advantage going into this one? What was your approach?
BM: The truth is here is the absolute truth. I actually felt like I had probably a major disadvantage because I feel like it’s like you want to call it the Super Bowl Syndrome — when a team comes back that has won it everyone is gunning for them. But I loved everyone who was on it and listen, as a lifelong diabetic, it’s a great opportunity for charity. I wanted to do it. But no doubt when you’re coming back they’re going to firing for you and you’ve just got to be strong and do the best you can.
Mr. Trump, What do you find so appealing about still doing the show?
DT: Well more than anything – yes I think more than anything else it’s the success of the show. It has just been amazing, you know, how well it has done and it took people by storm. As you know it became the number one show in many evenings over the years and it has been just a great success and it continues to be a phenomenal success for NBC and for me and for us. It has been an amazing success and I think maybe that’s why I keep doing it. It’s just that old thing. I could talk about many, many other shows that have tried to copy The Apprentice and they failed. They failed very quickly and miserably. And, you know, 15 of them now and I think more than anything else it’s really the success of the show. I enjoy doing it. As long as it continues to be successful I enjoy it.
After your experience on the show, what did you learn and plan for this season?
LTJ: Well first of all it’s such a fascinating show and I love the fact that he has given us this opportunity to promote our networks and what we’re doing as far as our charities are concerned. But I think I learned that personalities are individuals and you have to really be strong and steadfast no matter what happens, what you go through, stand by what you truly believe in and don’t let anyone deviate and you go into that road of deviation.
Were you expecting more out of the contestants since they have been through the show before? Were you a bit tougher on them?
DT: No I think they became a lot smarter, they understand the system better. We have a couple that did very, very well that frankly I wasn’t expecting as much from and I think they have learned the system a little bit. So it wasn’t that I was expecting more, I think they have become much smarter. I actually think that it made for an exciting show, very exciting show. I think it’s almost every one of them really have learned so much and it has become very, very exciting. It’s really a strong show, amazing show.
Bret and La Toya, did you have any hesitation about going back on the show or did you immediately think yes, I want to do this again.
LTJ: Well, I wanted to do it in the very beginning but the second time around I was a bit hesitant because I knew what I was faced with the first time. And I said you know what, you never give up, you always have to keep believing, you have to believe that you’re going to be the winner, you’re going to come through this really straightforward and strong. And I went for it, I went for it. Because if I have learned anything I have learned what Trump has taught us all that we need to put our best foot forward and don’t let anybody, anybody block us from anything that we wish to do or want to do. I felt it was very, very important to bring awareness as well to my charity which was National Network to End Domestic Violence. Because this show is so big and so wonderful, he has given us this opportunity to bring this awareness to our charities where everybody sees it and that interest goes there and then they start giving to the charity which is incredible. And it’s wonderful all the people who need it.
BM: No hesitation on my part at all. I was excited to do it, I wanted to do it the first time I did it and again I wasn’t – when I actually did it the first time I wasn’t at the peak of my best health. So this time getting the opportunity with All Stars and with La Toya and everyone that was there and Trace and Penn. I mean, these guys are all of them successful at what they do. There is a reason Mr. Trump and his show is a success. He’s a success in real life, in life life. And to be able to learn from that, I went in with no hesitation and realizing that the competition was going to be fierce. We all know each other, we all know the way each other plays, and for me I just went in headstrong and had a great time going there, zero hesitation. I would do it again.
Mr. Trump, why do you think the time was right to do the current All Stars edition?
DT: Well it just seemed good. You know, we’ve had so many people that have done so well on the show. They didn’t win but they did really well and they were really liked by the audience because ultimately it is about them being liked by the audience. And, you know, we have Trace Adkins coming back, we have so many people that did so well and just really were liked. I have such respect for Bret, you know, going on the show and because he could have sat to my side and it wouldn’t have been the same risk. But I really – I think you’ll see that Bret comes out amazingly, he comes out amazingly. But there was so much like and love for some of these contestants that we wanted to do an All Star version and bring back some of the, you know, whether it’s Gary Busey or Dennis Rodman, we have some – just some great people coming back.
Bret and La Toya, who do you guys think is your biggest competitor on the show and who surprised you the most?
LTJ: I think that in the beginning of the show I thought the biggest competitor, I knew it would be probably Penn. I just felt that. I don’t know why but I did of course and Trace of course. However, I felt that I would have a lot of problems with Omarosa and that was just a feeling. Because you can tell in the beginning when you see the people sort of sizing you out and saying little things to you but you’re still polite to them at the same time you’re going oh my God, it’s going to be war at some point. And you know it’s going to happen, you know it’s going to come. And yes of course it’s going to be an interesting season, let’s put it that way.
BM: Yes and I can add to this. There are – I look at everybody as massive competition on that show because everyone wants to win. They didn’t go there to lose. And, you know, you’ve got to just bring what is your game and pray that it works and bring your A game and pray that it works. And no doubt, La Toya said it best, everybody is competitive. And some of them are — I won’t mention any names — are pretty good TV professional villains. And as much as I think I’ve got nerves of steel they can rattle you, they can rattle you no doubt.
LTJ: And Bret you were a threat because as we all know Bret has already won so at this point you’re thinking oh no, Bret’s here, what are we going to do. So yes, it’s very competitive. And that’s one thing that you have to really, really mentally get yourself prepared for because people will do anything, and I do mean anything as Bret knows to win.
DT: And I’ll speak for Bret. He is very tough and he’s very, very smart.
Lastly, since you are playing for charity I’d like to give you the opportunity to tell us what is the name of your charity, what does it do, and why is that charity important to you personally?
LTJ: Well my charity that I was playing for was National Network to End Domestic Violence and that basically is a charity, as you all know domestic violence occurs all over the world and as we’re speaking now there are women and of course men that are just going through abuse at this very single moment. And they have no shelter, they feel that they have no lobby, they have nowhere to go. So I’m here to let them know that we are doing something about it and there are shelters, there is an 800 number that’s right there for you to call and get help. But this year – this charity that I’m playing for, National Network to End Domestic Violence was actually formed by the people themselves. So they went out and they got together and said we need a charity, we need a place to stay, something to do and have people come and donate for us. I thought that was very commendable of these little kids and women who were basically really suffering to get together and do something and say this is what our charity is going to be about and this is what it is. And it needs awareness. And people are just watching and just donating and I’m so happy. You can never, ever, ever have enough. And I truly believe that no one charity is better than the other but just bringing awareness to it is what I’m here for and I am very proud and pleased to be happy working with Mr. Trump to bring that awareness to it.
BM: My charity is simply called Life Rocks Foundation and I’ve had it for a really long time and it is – being a lifelong diabetic myself obviously a big part of it goes to diabetes. A big huge part of it which works also with ETF is St. Jude’s and childhood cancer and in Wounded Warriors and pet adoption. It’s got a variety of different things that we work. But it’s called Life Rocks Foundation Faces and Places and you just go to bretmichaels.com and you see the thousands of faces and the money every penny has been donated over the years.