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Reality TV Interview

Celebrity Apprentice Donald Trump, La Toya Jackson, Bret Michaels Q&A

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The Celebrity Apprentice hasn't been on our screens for months but at least it's coming back with a bang - it's the first All-Star edition! There a whole bunch of famous faces coming back to try to win money for charity - and we bet the arguments will be pretty intense, too!

The Donald recently spoke with reporters alongside contestants La Toya Jackson and Bret Michaels so read on to find out what they had to say about why this season is so dramatic, what conflicts we can expect, which contestant was "brutal", and more...

The Celebrity Apprentice - Season 6 poster

© NBC Universal

Season 6 contestants for 'Celebrity Apprentice'



Why is the time right for an All-Stars season?
Donald: "Well, it just seemed good. 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 being liked by the audience. 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 going on the show and doing it, because he could have sat to my side and it wouldn't have been the same risk. But I think you'll see that Bret 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. Whether it's Gary Busey or Dennis Rodman, we have just some great people coming back."

Donald, why did you pick these stars? Why not Holly Robinson Peete, or Melissa Rivers, or so on?
Donald: "They were all great. I've had very few that I could truly say - and I have had some - that I did not think were good and we wouldn't have them back. But Holly Robinson Peete was great, Melissa had one of the great scenes in the history of the show when she went crazy over something and it was great television. But this was the group we wanted... You have a list of the people on the show and it's just been a chemistry thing, we wanted the right chemistry. You never know if it's going to work but we picked people and the chemistry really did work."

Bret, did you feel like you had an advantage going into this season since you won the show before?
Bret: "Here's the absolute truth - I actually felt like I had probably a major disadvantage. I call it the Super Bowl syndrome - when a team comes back that's won it everyone's gunning for them. But I loved everyone that was on it, and 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 be firing for you. You've just got to be strong and do the best that you can."

The Celebrity Apprentice - Season 6 poster

© NBC Universal

Season 6 contestants for 'Celebrity Apprentice'



This season sounds exciting.
La Toya: "It is, it's very exciting. I learned this time you can not really let your heart or emotions get too involved... This is business and you've got to keep it business. You can't let your emotions or heart be a part of this. And I think Donald's very, very good at that; he knows how to separate the two."
Donald: "They both do great. It's exciting stuff - these two people are special people. Bret already won it and to be honest I was a little surprised. The other [winners] are sitting next to me as my advisors and Bret really wanted to go on the show and really make a lot of money for his charity. That took a lot of courage. As somebody that won the show, I was surprised. I don't think I would have done it... I think it's going to end up being very good for him, too. We'll see how that all turns out."

Were you tougher on the contestants this time around since they've all done it before, Mr Trump?
Donald: "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've learned the system a little bit. So it wasn't that I was expecting more - I think they've become much smarter. And I actually think it made for an exciting show, a very exciting show."

We've seen quite a few seasons of the show now - were there any moves that surprised you? Did any of the contestants do anything shocking that we may not have seen before?
Donald: "I think what surprises me more than anything else is the fact that these are name people, these are people that are successful and in some cases very, very successful, like Bret and like La Toya. They're very successful people, and it is a tough go. They devote so much effort, so much time, so much energy, and I'm just amazed. I don't know - there aren't very many people that could do it, and I give a lot of credit to the people who go on the show. And certainly it's good for them but it's also good for charities. We've raised literally probably over $10m for charity on the various shows, and it's great. We actually had a couple of nights where we raised $1m, over $1m in one night. So it's been a great thing for charities."

The Celebrity Apprentice - Bret Michaels poster

© NBC Universal

Bret Michaels in 'Celebrity Apprentice' season 6



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'?
La Toya: "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 the winner, come through this really straight-forward and strong', and I went for it. I went for it, because if I've learned anything I've learned what Trump has taught us all - that we need to put our best foot forward and don't let 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."
Bret: "No hesitation on my part at all. I was excited to do it, I wanted to do it. 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 LaToya and everyone who was there and Trace and Penn... I mean, these guys are all of them successful at what they do. There's 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 realized 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."

What is it about this cast that makes it such a good mix for drama?
Donald: "It's a strong cast. It's a very smart group of people. They're people that have done well in life and also in the show - for the most part in the show, and in life in all cases. It's a very nasty show. I mean, there's some deals... Omarosa is extremely nasty, I can tell you. I'm a big fan of Omarosa, by the way - I love Omarosa - but she was brutal, wouldn't you say, La Toya? And La Toya handled it very well, I will say. But it was not easy."
La Toya: "Absolutely brutal is right. I was told over and over she's very conniving and cunning and you're faced with it! It's right there! And she was brutal, absolutely."

The Celebrity Apprentice - La Toya Jackson poster

© NBC Universal

La Toya Jackson in 'Celebrity Apprentice' season 6



What is Joan Rivers' role on the show?
Donald: "She'll be a judge. Don and Ivanka and Eric are judges, but what we'll do is put Piers [Morgan] on in a little bit. The conflict between Omarosa and Piers, which is just a continuation of what happened previously on the show as you know, the conflict is as good, as smart, as tough, as mean as anything we've ever had on the show. But Piers is a judge with me. He sits by my side replacing Ivanka a couple of times, and likewise with Joan."

What does Gary Busey bring to the show? And did you consider bringing back Meat Loaf?
Donald: "We didn't want to duplicate the show, so we may have Meat Loaf back at a later time. He was just great on the show, he was great. And Gary is very interesting, because he's somewhat different. He's been solidified! He's a piece of work! In his own way he's a genius. I guess we can say that, Bret and La Toya? He really he is, he's amazing."
La Toya: "He really is. He's the smartest guy ever. As a matter of fact I just saw him last week and he's Gary. He hasn't changed a bit. And he loves you Mr Trump, that's all he talks about. You never know what's going to come out of his mouth - that's the strangest part about it all, isn't it guys?"
Donald: "He really did good. Bret knows him very well and I think he really did well and he shows some of his smarts."
Bret: "Gary's a tremendously smart human being and a character all mixed into one, and the best part about it is it's real. It's sincere. He's not going out of his way to be it, it's just what he is. And he's also very intelligent in his own way."

Bret, with all the health issues you had the last time you were on the show, were you nervous about coming back?
Bret: "No, to be honest with you... I laugh, I say, 'They worked on the brain, the heart, the appendix, most of the parts are fixed or gone'...The first time I did it I was pretty sick, but this time I felt great and I really wanted to be there and do it."

The Celebrity Apprentice - season 6 poster

© NBC Universal

The contestants of 'Celebrity Apprentice' season 6



Who was your biggest competition on the show, and who surprised you the most?
La Toya: "I think that in the beginning of the show, the biggest competitor, I knew it would probably be Penn. I just felt that, I don't know why, but I did. And Trace, of course. However, I felt that I would have a lot of problems with Omarosa. That was just a feeling, because you can tell in the beginning when you see the people sort of sizing you up 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. It's going to be an interesting season, let's put it that way."
Bret: "I look at everybody as massive competition on that show because everybody wants to win. They didn't go there to lose. And you've got to just bring your A-game and pray that it works. No doubt La Toya said it best - everybody's competitive and some of them on there, 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."
La Toya: "And Bret, you were a threat. We all know Bret has already won so it's just like 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."

Was there anyone you were intrigued about meeting, and anyone you bonded with during the show?
Bret: "La Toya was great, honestly. She's fantastic. She's a unique person because she has a heart of gold and fiercely competitive. We kind of share that same thing - you got a good heart but you also want to be very competitive. But everyone on the show - I've known Trace for a while, Penn, all these people. Very, very competitive people, and each of them brought a different winning quality to the table. I've got to be honest with you - it's a very, very, very dramatic season."
La Toya: "Yes, I have to say that I was really, really thrilled - and I do mean thrilled, and I'm not saying this Bret because you're on the phone - to meet Bret. He's a big rockstar and I thought, 'He had already won!' He's wonderful and I just could not wait to meet him. And I never really expressed that to you because once you get there you get in work mode immediately because you know that competition is there. But I was truly looking forward to meeting him and he's such a wonderful person. And I will always, always adore Bret, as well as Penn Jillette, who is such a sweetheart, isn't he guys?"
Bret: "He's great - very intelligent and pretty to the point."
La Toya: "He has a heart of gold, just like you, Bret."

Can you talk about some of the other stars we'll be seeing on the show?
Donald: "I can tell you that we have a lot of stars coming on that help the stars. Some of the biggest stars in Hollywood will be coming onto the show. We can't tell you who they are yet - we're not allowed to. But we have a lot of people coming on to help everybody. They've gotten a lot of their friends who are very, very big people in terms of mostly the entertainment world."

Is this the most dramatic season yet?
Donald: "I think it's certainly one of the most dramatic seasons. We have tremendous interest in this season. We brought back some of the people that everybody really liked, because it's an all-star season. I think, yeah, it's a very dramatic season. Some amazing things happen."
La Toya: "You have no idea! It's very dramatic, it's very exciting. There's so much going on and you will see a lot of confrontations. It's going to be a blast - you'll love it. You'll simply love it. Everyone will."
Bret: "It was something I really wanted to do. I had an absolutely great time and coming back, obviously, it is extremely dramatic. You'll just have to watch because it will keep you riveted."

The Celebrity Apprentice premieres Sunday (March 3) on NBC.

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