By Collin Kelley
Editor

Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes has a new reality show gig on the latest installment of Celebrity Apprentice. Will NeNe be able to take a bite out of the Big Apple or will she get bitten instead? It was hard to tell from last night’s debut, but there’s a clip of NeNe going around with her calling out Star Jones, so it’s going to to get juicy soon.

Donald Trump and his haircut called this cast of Celebrity Apprentice the “biggest and brightest stars” ever assembled for the show. Uhhh… cut back on the White Rain, baby, because it’s either eating your brain or clouding your vision. This cast is nothing but has-beens and also-rans (with a few “and you are…?”), but, hey, they’re doing it for charity… and a paycheck.

The men’s team is made up of Richard Hatch (Survivor winner and jailbird), Garey Busey (actor, addict, loon), John Rich (country singer I’ve never heard of), Jose Canseco (baseball player and ‘roid rage poster boy), Lil Jon (rapper in search of a paycheck), Mark McGrath (former bad boy rocker turned reality show hound), Meat Loaf (he’ll do anything for love, but I wish he hadn’t done this), and David Cassidy (the original Justin Bieber).

The ladies team includes NeNe, Star Jones (Yes, I AM a lawyer), Dionne Warwick (singer and Psychic Friends mouthpiece), Hope Dworaczyk (Playboy Playmate), Lisa Rinna (plastic surgery devotee), La Toya Jackson (as long as she’s not singing…), Niki Taylor (supermodel and good sport) and Marlee Matlin (deaf Oscar-winning actress and Family Guy mascot).

The first task assigned by The Donald was for each team to run a pizza parlor for a day and raise money for their charity by selling pies. The men decided to call themselves Backbone and the ladies ASAP, which La Toya said stood for Actors, Strippers, Alcoholics…no, wait…Actors, Singers…no, wait… Yeah, it was like that.

The men picked Richard Hatch to be their project manager and the conniving control freak  strategy he used on Survivor served him well. He didn’t do any physical work, unless you call pushing around little David Cassidy physical. Jose Canseco told The Donald he wanted to beat Richard’s ass during the boardroom session at the end of the show, but more on that in a second.

While Richard browbeat his team and Gary Busey and his enormous teeth stood on a Manhattan street corner screaming at people to buy pizza for charity, Star Jones was calling every celebrity and rich client who ever owed her a favor. People were coming into the ladies’ pizza parlor and dropping anywhere from $3,000 to $40,000 for a pizza. Star thought her team was doing so well, she decided to close the doors two hours early.

NeNe was frequently edited in between scenes at the pizza parlor to give running commentary on how Star was on the verge of screwing everything up, but then decided to throw Lisa Rinna under the bus in the boardroom. More on that in a second, too.

Star was happy to boss everyone around, but when it came to “the legend” Dionne Warwick, she lost her nerve. Despite Dionne’s inability to run a cash register (causing a huge backlog of customers), Star never really confronted her.

The way the show was edited together, it looked like the guys might have won the day after Lisa, Marlee and La Toya missed delivering pizzas to the Chelsea Firehouse, where they were promised a sizable donation. Because of Manhattan traffic, the girls delivered the $40,000 pizza first, but didn’t make it to the firehouse. It was later revealed the donation was $35,000. Ouch! However, since Niki Taylor cooked all the pizzas and is the most sane person on the show, The Donald gave the $35,000 to her charity.

When The Donald finally convened the boardroom, it turned out the women had…ahem…trumped the men in a big way by raising $170,000 to their $54,000. When The Donald asked NeNe who was the weakest link on her team, she put the bulls-eye on Lisa Rinna for not being able to part New York City traffic like the Red Sea to make the firehouse delivery. In the preview of next week’s show, NeNe says they elect Lisa project manager just so they can get rid of her. Oooh, boy…

While the ladies return triumphantly to their luxury suite, Richard Hatch continues to belittle David Cassidy and says Jose Conseco isn’t very smart. To be honest, Cassidy seemed exhausted and out of his league, but it was still a huge disappointment when The Donald fired him over the ego-maniacal bully Richard. If someone had handed Jose a bat, Richard’s head would have been in the East River.

Celebrity Apprentice airs Sunday nights on NBC at 9 p.m.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

2 replies on “Celebrity Apprentice: The NeNe Connection”

  1. I spent the whole time praying that Cansenco would bop Hatch over the head. I think David Cassidy was too much of a gentleman to strongly speak up for himself and that was his downfall. Trump and his whole team was wrong not to fire Hatch, one of the most insufferable arrogant people ever to grace a tv screen. He acted exactly like what he is, a convicted ex-con with a nasty attitude.

    I can’t wait to see the future ones and I hope that Hatch is no longer there.

  2. I spent the whole time praying that Cansenco would bop Hatch over the head. I think David Cassidy was too much of a gentleman to strongly speak up for himself and that was his downfall. Trump and his whole team was wrong not to fire Hatch, one of the most insufferable arrogant people ever to grace a tv screen. He acted exactly like what he is, a convicted ex-con with a nasty attitude.

    I can’t wait to see the future ones and I hope that Hatch is no longer there.

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