Celebrity Apprentice Kicks Off with Sharon Osbourne, Cyndi Lauper, Ron Blagojevich, and More

This year's Celebrity Apprentice includes a roster of "stars" including Sharon Osbourne, Cyndi Lauper, Ron Blagojevich, and more. On the first episode the potential apprentices were broken into teams of men and women and told to run a hamburger joint for a day. The team that generated the most revenue would win.

Now, I have to admit that there's something weirdly hypnotic about watching the Celebrity Apprentice. Maybe it's watching celebrities demean themsevles on the show. Seeing them suck up to Donald Trump is amusing and I often wonder why they would bother. It's not for charity. I think instead, the celebrities see this as a way of raising their own profile.

I also have to hand it to the Donald. He gets some interesting cast members. Last year it was basketball player turned drunk train wreck Dennis Rodman. This year it's disgraced Governor Ron Blagojevich. Blagojevich has some cojones for appearing on the show. I'm not even certain what his legal status is but clearly he's looking for some type of redemption. Or maybe just a paycheck. A man has to do what a man has to do to support his family and I can't fault anyone for that.

The other piece that's interesting is watching how a bunch of big egos work together. Last night, everyone pretty much got along. The men were led by Brett Michaels, former front-man for the glam-rock band Poison (Talk Dirty to Me) while the women were led by Cyndi Lauper (Girls Just Want to Have Fun).

The men won because they got the pricing right. They priced their burger at $100 a pop while the women priced there burger at $25. The $100 price kept the common-folk (you and me) out and allowed the men to hit up their big money donors. The women's diner was crowded with regular Joes and the big money couldn't get in or find a seat.

So, to relate this to business. Don't underprice your product. Too much demand can be a bad thing if it lowers the quality or crowds out the bigger spenders.

Now back to the show. The women lost and one of their teammates had to be voted off. What followed was pure lunacy. None of the women wanted to throw anyone else under the bus, causing Trump to utter a few swears. Poor Cyndi Lauper looked like she wanted to break down and cry. In the end, comedian Carol Liefer was fired. Lauper should have been the one to go. She was the team manager, ultimately responsible for the loss and it's clear that while she's a talented musician, she has no head for business. She almost admitted as much.

But this is TV and ratings are important. Lauper is one of the better known contestants so getting rid of her this early could hurt ratings. Liefer was expendable - so goodbye.

Business Learing #2 - It's not what you know but who you know. Or in this case, being better known trumps competency.

Does the show have any business merits? I don't know and I don't really care. After looking at rates all day, it's a diversion.

Sam Cass
Sam Cass: Sam Cass, MBA, JD, University of Texas at Austin. Always a fan of Leonardo Da Vinci.

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