Celebrity Apprentice Winner Is….
There’s a new winner of “The Celebrity Apprentice!” Donald Trump made the big announcement at the end of the season 7 finale on Monday. Get the full recap and find out who won here!
As Gossip Cop reported, Leeza Gibbons and Geraldo Rivera embarked on the competition’s final challenge in last week’s episode. The stars were tasked with creating a 90-second commercial for Universal Resorts and selling 10 vacation packages for as much money as possible. The commercials would be presented at a red carpet affair in New York, where Gibbons and Rivera would be judged on creativity, brand messaging, how much money they raised through packages sold, and overall presentation in front of the Universal executives.
Gibbons had eliminated contestants Kevin Jonas, Brandi Glanville, and Johnny Damon brought back to help her, though Jonas seemed to be the only one of the three taking it seriously. They had essentially just one day to film their marketing video on the grounds of the Orlando theme park, and bring their concept to life: a tightly-wound father who eventually realizes spontaneity would be the best way for his family to make the most of their trip. Jonas led the charge as director, and Gibbons was thrilled with their finished product.
Rivera had fired contestants Ian Ziering, Vivica Fox, and Lorenzo Lamas working with him, but he had a major fight with Lamas, who was in charge of directing their video, when a major miscommunication delayed their shoot, enraging the veteran journalist. Rivera took the reigns of the production, which was based on his “Harry Potter”-inspired concept of being an investigative reporter showcasing kids of all ages discovering their “inner hero” through the parks. He later surprisingly let his team handle editing, and was actually happy with the final cut.
Back in New York, both teams had to present at the same event, where they also had to work on fundraising by securing donations from attendees. Gibbons felt she was at a disadvantage since Rivera had been the best at the money challenges throughout the season, though Trump had previously stressed that it would not be the only factor in deciding the eventual winner. Both were inspired by their respective charities, Leeza’s Care Connection (for those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease) and Life WORC (helping those with disabilities), and there was an additional $250,000 prize in store for the winner.
Rivera’s presentation was inadvertently funny at first when he mispronounced Ziering’s name, but his commercial received applause. Gibbons was impressed with the ad, but felt it may have been too “Geraldo-heavy.” Singer Tony Orlando, meanwhile, brought some emotion to the proceedings when, before performing, he shared the story of his own disabled sister, and how an exposé Rivera did years ago help his family provide proper care for her. Gibbons, meanwhile, opened up about why she founded her charity before her video, too, received applause. She then became emotional when tying her mother’s memory loss to the idea of making memories through this experience. The presentation was capped by a performance by Olivia Newton-John.
The teams returned to Trump’s boardroom afterward, and not surprisingly, all the returning contestants who helped praised Gibbons and Rivera, and the two finalists were each confident that they beat the other. It was ultimately that revealed that the executives were pleased Rivera seized their hero idea, and that he used his teammates as celebrities in the clip. They disliked, though, that the parents and children featured had separate experiences, and also felt that the presentation was “disjointed,” and didn’t relate back to Universal. For Gibbons, the execs loved that she provided the narration for their clip, but they wanted to see more of a celebrity aspect incorporated, and wanted the story to go further in engaging the viewer into what’s so great about Universal. As for her presentation, they again loved Gibbons, especially how she tied her charity and Universal together, and that Newton-John sang the fitting track, “Magic.”
All in all, there were pros and cons for both of them. But when it came time to reveal the fundraising totals, Trump began by announcing it “wasn’t even close.” Indeed, Rivera and team raised $146,000 to Gibbons and her team’s $324,000, a major coup for Gibbons considering what she and everyone else thought she was up against. Unfortunately for the stars, though, that’s where the taped challenge ended, and they had to wait long after production finished to find out who would ultimately be victorious.
All the footage of the challenge was shown as the entire “Celebrity Apprentice” cast joined Trump for the traditional live aspect of the finale, which featured the group reflecting on the highs and lows of the season. When Gibbons and Rivera joined Trump at the makeshift boardroom on stage, the mogul admitted he was “surprised” she “made it this far,” initially believing the former talk show host wasn’t tough enough before she proved to be an “overachiever” in the best sense. Several of the cast members polled said Gibbons deserved to win, in part because she won more challenges throughout the competition than Rivera, while Rivera’s conflicts with various contestants was played up. Still, others were in favor of the more controversial Rivera becoming the champion, pointing to his fundraising skills and his toughness.
Trump finally revealed Gibbons won the final task, but also noted that his ultimate decision would be based on the entire competition. Gibbons then made the case that she should be the overall winner, saying, “I think I’ve played the game with a lot of heart and integrity,” and rejected the suggestion that she “played it safe,” explaining, I think I played it smart, I think I played it strategically, or else I wouldn’t be sitting here.” She stressed that she amassed 8 wins and 3 losses throughout the competition, and even led Rivera to victory when he had been in a losing slump. She also pointed out that she was never called back to the boardroom once while he was several times. “I started with my eye on the prize, and I still have my eye on that prize, and I think I’m your next Celebrity Apprentice,” she told Trump.
Trump lastly consulted his trusted advisers, daughter Ivanka and son Don, Jr., who praised both finalists. Trump then told Rivera, “You’re tough, you’re smart. You’re brilliant in so many different ways,” and told Gibbons, “You led with kindness… You really do have tremendous talent and tremendous leadership ability.” In the end, Trump announced the “Celebrity Apprentice” winner was… Gibbons!
Are you happy with the results? Do you agree with Trump’s decision? And are you already looking forward to the just-announced next season?!