Celebrity Apprentice cast announced after the media keeps NBC’s secret for a month

The 16 quasi-celebrities who will participate in NBC’s Apprentice 7, which debuts Jan. 3, have been officially announced by NBC–weeks after the press officially learned of their identities but agreed to sit on the story.

The 14 quasi-celebrities are country singer Trace Adkins, model/actress Carol Alt, actor Stephen baldwin, Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci, Playmate Tiffany Fallon, Olympic softball player Jennie Finch, producer Nely Galan, actor Marilu Henner, boxer Lennox Lewis, Apprentice contestant Omarosa, America’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan, UFC fighter Tito Ortiz, actor Vincent Pastore, and Kiss singer Gene Simmons.

The most appalling part of the news is that the press was introduced to the cast last month, and promised NBC not to say anything until now. “At a locked-down news conference in Manhattan last month, the cast for ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ was introduced to members of the press. Everyone was sworn to secrecy,” The AP’s Frazier Moore reports, as if this is something to be proud of. What the hell is the media thinking here? Kowtowing to a television network’s request that an announcement about the cast of a has-been reality series be withheld? For what reason would that be necessary other than to let NBC use the media as its lackeys to promote its series for free?

Presumably, the media learned of the cast’s identities when the world did, too, in mid-October. Sometime after Page Six falsely reported a cast list during the summer, the actual cast members were photographed in New York participating in a task, so many of the cast’s identities aren’t a surprise.

What is a surprise is that Donald Trump said that 125 celebrities wanted to be on the show, and “were all begging to be on the show. The hardest thing was breaking it down to these 14,” he told reporters. Trump said that he selected the cast based upon their business experience. “These people have all done something very dramatic with money.” Assuming that at least two-thirds of what Donald Trump says is complete bullshit, it’s still hard to believe that they ended up with this group and rejected so many others. A judge from another NBC reality series? Omarosa? Really?

Donald Trump Returns to NBC with “The Celebrity Apprentice” Premiere Thursday, Jan. 3rd 9pm ET [NBC press release]
Celebrity Apprentice’ Stars Announced [AP]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.