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‘Celebrity Apprentice’ Q&A with Donald Trump

[IMG:L]After six seasons of hiring and firing on his hit reality show The ApprenticeDonald Trump is taking a fresh crop of over achievers to the boardroom. But you won’t find the run of the mill Harvard or Yale grad in the mix. This season is all about self-made celebrities, including the likes of Gene Simmons, Vincent PastoreStephen Baldwin and even one returning contender: Omarosa.

Without the help of their managers, handlers or assistants, Celebrity Apprentice’s 14 competitors battle it out to raise money for their favorite charities.

Trump tells Hollywood.com all about the new star studded season.

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Hollywood.com: How would Rosie O’Donnell fare on Celebrity Apprentice?
Donald Trump:
I would say she’d be fired in the first evening. That would be easy.

[IMG:R]HW: Are there any celebrities you could never bear to fire?
I couldn’t have Tony Bennett or I couldn’t have Regis [Philbin] because I wouldn’t have the heart to fire them. Right? How could I fire them? Now Gene is a friend of mine, he’s a great guy, but Gene is a tough cookie. But firing Regis? How could you do that?

HW: How do the celebrities compare with past players?
The level of the spirit and viciousness was just unbelievable. At first I didn’t understand why and then I realized each one of these folks has a big reputation to protect and a big brand to protect, whether it’s Marilu [Henner] or Gene, or Lennox Lewis, or Tito Ortiz, who as you know is a great fighter also.

[IMG:R]HW: How did Ivanka and Donald Jr. handle critiquing the celebrity competitors?
I think they were careful about that. I think they were very respectful, probably more respectful than I was toward the celebrities. And I wanted them to be. It’s not appropriate as an example for Ivanka, who’s 25-years-old, to be shouting at Lennox Lewis or Gene Simmons or Marilu.

HW: How has The Apprentice changed your own level of celebrity?
I thought I was very well-known before, but now … you know, where it’s changed mostly is with young kids. I mean, 10-year-old kids now come up and they say, “You’re fired. You’re fired!”

HW: What about your reputation?
 It’s interesting because over the years people have said, “You’re a much nicer person than we thought”–and yet all I do is fire people. So you have to explain that. I can’t.

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Celebrity Apprentice airs Thursday nights on NBC

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