‘Celebrity Apprentice’ Exclusive: Donald Trump, Arsenio Hall, Debbie Gibson Reveal Explosive Rivals In New Season


The new season of Celebrity Apprentice premieres on Feb. 19 and there’s sure to be some nasty fights along the way. The new cast is playing for charity but the restless hours and not wanting to hear “You’re Fired” will ultimately lead to some scheming and rivalries. I just got off the phone with Donald Trump (seriously, who says that?) along with contestants Debbie Gibson and Arsenio Hall about the NBC hit. Forget the meet and greets and forget the ‘friendly’ competition. Frankly, we just wanted to find out which entertainers went at each other’s throats in this new round.

And luckily, we found out way more than first expected. One simple question ultimately took us on a tailspin. Who kept going after the pageant queen? Who ended up crying for half the season? Why is Arsenio so happy to be alive and who’s deemed as this season’s Meat Loaf? Read on to find out.

The show is such a success with the charities but also conflict ensues with trying to win and you have such great personalities on the show. Were there any specific heated rivals this season that you didn’t necessarily expect would happen?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, Arsenio had a great rival but I’ll tell you there was one rivalry that was very interesting. Lisa Lampanelli verses Miss. Universe, Dayana Mendoza.


TRUMP: And that was an unbelievable rivalry. I don’t know what it is that Lisa had against Dayana but it was–it was brutal. You know, Lisa’s tough and smart but it was brutal. Wouldn’t you say so Arsenio and Debra? It was a tough rivalry I thought.

DEBBIE GIBSON: It was and I think, you know, people were very hard on Dayana. She’s a beauty queen. People think beauty queens can’t be creative and resourceful and smart and I found myself standing up for her quite often actually. I thought they were extra hard on her.

TRUMP: But she ended up being very smart. She was actually, in a very understated way–she turned out to be very smart. But Lisa, I mean, she went after Dayana. It was brutal. There were others. Arsenio you had a particular problem.

HALL: I had a problem with everybody! [Laughs] I had a problem with Victoria Gotti. I’m happy to be alive today.

TRUMP: [Laughs]

HALL: Lisa was really on me. Lisa was our Meat Loaf of the season.

TRUMP: Right. [Laughs] And Lisa surprised me because she’s much more emotional than I thought she’d be. Not just in terms of a tough–she turned out to be much more emotional.

HALL: I never imagined that she would cry and her and Lou Ferrigno cried every hour.

TRUMP: Lou was another one. Lou’s a great character actually but a very emotional person.

HALL: Don’t make him mad!

GIBSON: Coming into the show and when you watch the show as a fan you wonder how much of the relationship issues are provoked maybe by participants or whatever and what I learned was all of the roller coaster rivalry relationships are real. You’re in close quarters with people, you don’t get along with everybody. I usually get along with everybody–I had my share of rubbing elbows with somebody, but then it would take a turn and one day you would be getting a long and somebody that you thought you liked show some colors you didn’t like and that would take a turn. All of that stuff is real, which is one of the biggest surprises for me. [Laughs]

TRUMP: That’s right! Debra had somebody in particular that really went after you about which I never understood why. But you had somebody that was not so nice to you, right Debra?

GIBSON: Yep, yep. And then it turned. And now we’re actually friends. [Laughs]


GIBSON: Go figure.

TRUMP: So there was a lot of conflict. I do say this–this was a very, very smart cast. I think people are going to learn a lot from Celebrity Apprentice. I think this was a very, very–I’ve had emotional casts and this was one of them–but this was a very, very smart group of people as a whole.

Thanks so much! Can’t wait to see it!


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