'Apprentice' runner-up Kwame Jackson axed as 'MIss Universe' judge
By Wade Paulsen, 06/01/2004
Maybe Kwame Jackson, the Harvard Business School graduate who was runner-up on NBC's The Apprentice, just isn't meant to work for Donald Trump. First, Kwame lost out to Bill Rancic in the "hiring" on the finale of the show. Then The Donald hired Kwame as a "temp" -- to be a judge at the 2004 Miss Universe beauty pageant, which Trump sponsors and co-owns along with NBC. But, before the pageant even took place, Kwame was once again out of work.
The Associated Press reports that Kwame was disqualified as a judge by the Miss Universe organizers for shaking hands with some of the contestants in a hotel lobby in Quito, Ecuador, the host city for the 2004 pageant. In a press statement, the "president" of Miss Universe said that Kwame's "interaction with the delegates, albeit unintentional, is strictly prohibited." For his part, Kwame said that he was meeting friends at the hotel and "honestly had no idea that [the contestants' hotel] was off limits."
As a consolation, Kwame was offered a spot on next year's judging panel. We expect that he'll stay out of the contestants' hotel until after the show next time.
Judging by Apprentice winner Bill Rancic and now Kwame, we may understand why the men on The Apprentice lost ALL of the same-sex challenges to the women -- the only activity they excel at may be skirt-chasing. Since Kwame was just one of nine judges, the pageant won't be hurt much by his absence -- but we'd bet that both NBC and Trump, who wanted to use Miss Universe to cross-promote the upcoming second and third series of The Apprentice, are more than a little unhappy about Kwame's disqualification.
Then again, we expect that The Donald -- whose feud with CBS head Les Moonves dates back to Moonves's 2002 decision to cancel CBS's 42-year tradition of broadcasting Miss Universe and was recently fueled by Trump referring to Moonves as "the most highly overrated person in television" and statement that Moonves "would have been fired by the third episode" of The Apprentice -- will make sure that he gets some cross-promotion for The Apprentice regardless.
How to recover from Kwame's absence? Well, perhaps Apprentice self-proclaimed "wild man" Sam Solovey will show up (at least in the commercials) in his Miss USA gown.... how quickly can a Trump jet get from Washington, DC to Ecuador?