It’s been more than a year since NBC aired a season of Celebrity Apprentice. The show has been neither canceled nor missed at the network, until today. This morning, Donald Trump popped on Today to announce that the show has already filmed, that the new season is hitting the network in January, and that Joan Rivers will appear in the new episodes.
Whew, I know that is a lot to take in. Joan Rivers, as you probably well know, died back in September from surgery-related complications. However, before her untimely passing, she had apparently filmed scenes for Celebrity Apprentice. If you are unfamiliar with the show, she is not a contestant on Season 14. Instead, she will appear as a judge during two of the new episodes, filling in for Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. Rivers actually won the second season of Celebrity Apprentice (also known as The Apprentice Season 8), so she had the clout to deal with the celebrity personalities and their business shortcomings on the show. In addition to Rivers, Piers Morgan will also appear as an advisor on the show.
If anything, Celebrity Apprentice has been great at pulling together a bunch of random celebrities willing to give silly business challenges their all. Just look at this motley crew.
Sixteen competitors will star in the new season, in a lineup that pulls from TV and film, Olympic athletes and other athletic pros, reporters, reality stars and more. Chief among these is the notoriously broke Kate Gosselin, who is known for Kate Plus Eight, and has already appeared on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Then, oddly enough, two Olympic athletes will appear in the new season, including recent snowboarding sensation Jamie Anderson and incredible gymnast Shawn Johnson. MLB outfielder Johnny Damon and former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens will round out the athletes on the show.
Most of the other famous people are somehow related to showbiz. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried will appear on the new season, as will Keshia Knight Pulliam, otherwise remembered as Rudy Huxtable. Recent Syfy sensation Ian Ziering will appear after starring in Sharknado, as will Brandi Glanville, who happens to be one of the more famous members of the Real Housewives crew, thanks to her spats with LeAnn Rimes. Next we have musician Kevin Jonas (the eldest Jonas brother), reporter Geraldo Rivera, actress Vivica Fox, TV’s Lorenzo Lamas, talk show host Leeza Gibbons, and Sig Hansen from Deadliest Catch. Last but not least, we have Real Housewives star and former Miss USA Kenya Moore, who earned her crown back in 1993 and will work to earn a different kind of honor this time around.
In its last couple of years on the air, Celebrity Apprentice wasn’t a huge ratings bringer for NBC, and the fact that the show is coming back in January speaks more to the total lack of original content the peacock network has going in to midseason than anything else. This season, NBC has already chucked A to Z and Bad Judge, and while the network has some other new fodder hitting the schedule at midseason, NBC is probably just desperate for a show that is guaranteed to do OK ratings. Enter Celebrity Apprentice. If the network hadn't just announced it threw together a new season of a show that hasn't been a programming highlight in years, I would almost feel bad for NBC. Almost.
You can catch new episodes of Celebrity Apprentice when it hits the schedule on Sunday, January 4 at 9 p.m. ET.