'The Celebrity Apprentice': $100 burgers for diabetes

celebapprentice1.jpgYes, it's that time again! Another season of The Celebrity Apprentice begins. If you haven't yet, get to know the contestants with our photo gallery.

Introductions

Trump's contestants gather at Grand Central station for introductions. Apparently, Bret Michaels is late because he had a concert in Mexico the night before, and he's running on only an hour of sleep.  

Rod Blagojevich says he's doing the show to "fight back" against his wrongful accusations.  In an interview Goldberg says that he's honored to compete alongside "all of them ... but Rod Blagojevich? Not necessarily." Even Donald Trump notes that it took "guts" for Blagojevich to join the cast.

Trump also announces that the men will be on one team, and the women will be on the other. Back at Trump Tower, the women comb through the history books for a name, but ultimately settle on Tenacity. The men, at Bret's suggestion, go with Rock Solid as their team name.

Conveniently, Bret's clothing line is called Rock Solid, which he just happens to mention after the men settle on the name. He may be more business-savvy than expected -- he essentially just turned the entire show into a promotional vehicle for his t-shirts.

The competition
The men choose Cyndi Lauper as the women's team leader not because of a weakness, but because she's got a lot of connections in New York. The leader of the team that loses the challenge is at a high risk of being sent home, so their plan is to knock off the women's strongest competitors first. Bret suggests that the women will definitely choose him because he's "been stoned since the third grade." After considering the lack of sleep Bret's dealing with, the women do go with Bret.

Donald announces that the teams will be running diners to raise money for charity. They're welcome to use their celebrity connections to solicit tips, and the team who makes the most money wins.

Rock Solid
It seems that the men are at an immediate advantage because of celebrity chef Curtis Stone's obvious restaurant experience.

The men decide to go with big-ticket menu items like truffle risotto and $100 burgers targeted toward an exclusive, elite clientele. Stone calls in some favors to get the expensive ingredients sent to him, and the rest of the men hit the phones as well, getting in touch with their celebrity friends to stir up some buzz.

The men print out large posters with their photos on them to promote the restaurant, but at first, it seems like they may have overshot their goal. Most passers-by balk at the extremely high prices and leave. However, after word spreads, big spenders arrive with cash in hand -- and lots of it. Some donors leave tips of well over $1,000, in support of Bret Michaels' donation to children with Type 1 Diabetes.

In a bit of a twist, Donald Trump asks last season's winner, Joan Rivers, to stop by each restaurant as a secret mole and report back to him on the quality of the food and service. She's not a huge fan of the Rock Solid diner. Rod Blagojevich's skills as a server make him look like an excellent politician, and he ends up bringing Joan her (now cold) burger 10 minutes after Curtis put it up.

Tenacity
Tenacity went with a completely different strategy in their efforts to earn money for Cyndi's charity, the True Colors Fund for gay and lesbian advocacy organizations. With Victoria's Secret model Selita Ebanks as the head chef, they crank out less fancy but more affordable meals while enthusiastically promoting Cyndi Lauper and Sharon Osbourne, easily the most famous women on the team, as the celebrity hosts.

In one of the best moments of the episode, Sharon coaxes a terrified-looking paparazzo into taking promotional photos of her and Cyndi, which go on fliers for Carol Leifer to pass out on the street.  There's a bit of tension between Carol and Holly Robinson-Peete after Carol (along with project manager Cyndi) fails to recognize that the restaurant is over capacity and Carol will be more help inside.

Joan is far more pleased with her experience at the Tenacity diner. Her service is prompt, her food is hot, and despite the chaotic atmosphere, let's face it ... she didn't have to look at Rod Blagojevich while she ate.

Cyndi treats her customers to an impromptu mini-concert when her accordionist shows up with his instrument in tow. Getting the chance to watch Cyndi Lauper sing while wearing a '50s-style pink waitress uniform would certainly be worth the price of that $25 burger.

Boardroom
In the boardroom, Trump reveals that Joan's approval means that Tenacity gets a $10,000 bonus added to their total of $29,559, bringing them to $39,559. The Rock Solid team's focus on big spenders put their total at $57,905. Combining the funds -- and adding a little bit extra -- means that Trump will be giving $100,000 to the American Diabetes Association.

Trump asks the men to leave while he decides which woman to fire.

Most of the women initially refuse to "throw anyone under the bus" as being the weakest link, but after Trump finally bullies them into pointing fingers, most women suggest that Carol and Cyndi should be up for elimination.  

Trump fires Carol. She doesn't seem to take it too well, despite his $10,000 donation to her charity for animal rights. It seems that the acerbic personality that boosted her rise to success in the comedy world doesn't work as well in business.

Check back in with us at Zap2It next week to see how the celebs fare when they can't call their wealthy friends for help!

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Related:

The new cast and their potential misconduct
Rod Blagojevich joins 'Celebrity Apprentice'

Photo Credit: NBC

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