Dennis Rodman the fifth celebrity fired from 'The Celebrity Apprentice'
By John Bracchitta, 03/30/2009
Dennis Rodman became the fifth celebrity contestant to be fired by Donald Trump during last night's broadcast of The Celebrity Apprentice's second season on NBC.
The former NBA star was eliminated following an emotional boardroom session in which many of his Kings of the Universe (KOTU) teammates suggested he may have a drinking problem.
"I have no excuse for what happened I have no excuse," Rodman said following his elimination. "So I have to take that bullet, go home and heal the wounds, and come back stronger than ever... Just don't count Dennis out, he's gonna be ok. You'll be sure of that."
The Celebrity Apprentice's fifth second-season episode began immediately following the previous boardroom session in which Trump fired Claudia Jordan over Melissa Rivers. Before learning that her daughter would be spared from elimination, comedienne Joan Rivers vented that she didn't feel it was fair that Melissa had been kept in the boardroom by Jordan after performing well in the previous task.
"If it was warranted, fine, you go. but it's totally not warranted," Joan said.
When Melissa eventually returned after not being eliminated, she said that she had been distressed by the "character attacks and personality attacks" Jordan had made prior to her elimination.
Meanwhile, R&B singer Brian McKnight, the project manager for KOTU's previous task that they had won, hoped that he had set a trend for his team and that if Rodman decided to participate more that the team could do very well for itself.
"I'm very, very proud of my team. We're on the right track, I thing were moving on all cylinders," he said. "Now if Dennis joins us I think we become more powerful if he completely engages and wants to be a part of the team."
Both teams then met with Trump, who was flanked by his two children Donald Jr. and Ivanka, at his Trump international Hotel and were told they would each be given five rooms at the Loews Regency Hotel in Manhattan to manage for their upcoming task.
In addition to maintaining the rooms' appearances by cleaning them without the help of maids, the teams were also told they would have to handle any hospitality requests from their guests, who would eventually grade their performances and report back to Trump to determine the task's winner.
The project manager for the winning team would also receive $20,000 towards the charity of their choice, Trump added, before telling the teams to choose who they wanted leading them for the upcoming task.
While the women's team of Athena chose for TLC music group member Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins to lead them, KOTU made a bold decision to make Rodman their project manager in order to demonstrate that they supported him as a teammate while giving him a chance to prove his true worth to the team.
"You know what you have to do Dennis, you should do a good job," Trump told him. "Don't play games with me, you're a smart guy. Don't let me down Dennis, I'll fire your ass so quick."
"I'll do a good job," Rodman responded.
The teams then divided to begin planning on how they would be running their hotel rooms. For Athena, Watkins made a point to listen to her teammates' suggestions of including complimentary cheese plates for their guests and assigning Joan to work concierge because she had the best knowledge of New York City.
"I'm not the type of person that's like 'oh well, just because I'm running stuff it's my idea and my idea alone, because that's my team. It was the right thing to do to put Joan in concierge because c'mon, she's Joan Rivers."
Meanwhile, Rodman began his stint a project manager on a relatively high note as he said he wanted to replicate the "best hotel you've ever stayed at in the world" and delegated country singer Clint Black to check in the guests, retired NFL football player Herschel Walker to get food for the rooms, former Monster Garage star Jesse James to handle the guests bags and clean the rooms, and McKnight to pick up the slack wherever extra help was needed.
While approving of his work, McKnight still acknowledged that Rodman was very unique when it came to his managerial style.
"Dennis sorta delegates, he speaks in a language that not all of us understand, he points and he says 'well that's what were gonna do,' but he doesn't say what it is," McKnight said.
Following brief training by the hotel's staff on how to properly clean the rooms and tend to their desks, Rodman continued to prove his worth as he arranged for the team to get cookies for their guests from the Carnegie Deli as well as two complimentary cars to drive the guests around to wherever they wanted to go while staying at the hotel.
"Maybe Dennis, maybe he's finally gonna show up now that he's project manager," McKnight hoped. However, his hopes were soon dashed as Rodman began drinking alcohol before he left with James and Walker to go to Carnegie Deli to pick up the cookies.
"When Dennis starts drinking he turns into something else," McKnight said soon after.
Following their training, Athena separated into their own roles for the task, with Joan handling concierge, Watkins, Melissa, professional poker player Annie Duke and former Fear Factor contestant Brande Roderick handling housekeeping and room service, and LPGA golfer Natalie Gulbis handling kitchen duties.
"[Watkins] did a great job. She was really organized," Roderick said. "She was on top of everything, she assigned tasks. People weren't wondering 'Well what am I gonna do?"
Watkins also decided that Athena would be offering complimentary internet and breakfast for its guests, as well as gift baskets and beer and wine waiting in the rooms for them as well.
Both teams struggled to get their rooms cleaned appropriately before their guests arrived. However KOTU ran into additional trouble when Rodman, after having a few more drinks, began arguing with McKnight about a Ferrari he wanted to have parked outside that McKnight thought was pointless and had nothing to do with the hospitality they had to provide.
"If Brian wants to do something let Brian take the whole task over, how 'bout that? And f--king do everything, let Brian do everything!" Rodman screamed facetiously.
After returning to the hotel Rodman angered McKnight even more when he undid the cookie arrangements that McKnight had created, put the cookies back into a box and brought them down to the chefs to handle instead.
Both teams then began accepting their guests, with KOTU running into some initial trouble when Rodman began talking to one guest about strip clubs in Vancouver while promising him champagne they did not have on hand.
Both teams were also given special first-season The Celebrity Apprentice celebrity guests, who were sent in by Trump to ruffle each team's feathers, with Stephen Baldwin going to one of Athena's rooms and immediately complaining of the view from his window while Vincent Pastore went to one of KOTU's rooms and immediately demanded reservations at an exclusive Italian restaurant, a box of cannnoilis, and a Roy Orbison album waiting for him in his room.
Upon meeting with KOTU, Ivanka noted that the team was doing relatively well and serving their guests appropriately, but also quickly realized that Rodman had been drinking and was not hiding it with his actions.
"I think Dennis was inebriated. I think he has a short attention span generally speaking and sorta has the ability to get sidetracked into any other task," she said.
Ivanka's assessment turned out to be spot on, as Rodman further angered his teammates by skipping out on them entirely after inviting himself out to dinner with two of the guests staying with them at the hotel. After calling one of their car's drivers and learning that Rodman had left the team, James expressed anger or Rodman's latest antics, but not surprise, and added that he had probably made the team better by leaving anyhow.
Meanwhile things ran much more smoothly at Athena, as Roderick helped tend to one of the guest's dogs by taking it outside to go to the bathroom while Gulbis and Duke tried to please the guests with their room service.
After returning from dinner and grabbing the cookies, along with another vodka cranberry, Rodman suddenly became angered when he met with the team. Without anything seeming to provoke him, Rodman slammed the cookies down on a table and then left the hotel as he took off his shirt before leaving in a taxi.
The following morning Athena immediately regretted the tough task of serving breakfast to their guests, but were able to do it with mostly positive results. Conversely, a dejected Rodman returned to KOTU but said he didn't wanna talk about the night before and said that he was "just waiting to get fired."
After their guests had recorded their comments about their stay and checked out, both teams met with The Donald in the boardroom to hear who had won the task and which team would have one of their teammates fired.
Ivanka noted that both teams had received more positive comments than negative ones. However the conversation quickly turned to Rodman after she said that comments for KOTU had made a point to say that "MOST of the team was professional."
After Rodman admitted that he didn't think KOTU had won the task, despite his role project manager, James -- who has been sober for nine years after suffering from a drinking problem of his own -- came forward and said that he felt Rodman had a drinking problem.
"Two of the greatest athletes in the history of American sports [right here] now," James said referring to Rodman and Walker, who had performed well during the challenge. "Look at the contrast."
After saying that he had been impressed by the way Walker handled himself of the field and with fans, James continued that he could not say the same for Rodman.
"Dennis, people look [at you same way they look at Walker] and their eyes light up and they're like 'Oh it's Dennis Rodman,' and then they meet him and I feel like there's a little bit of disappointment, and I'm a little bit sad for him because of that," said James.
Rodman did not seem to take well to the comments and attempted to shift the focus back to the competition to no avail.
"Is this about 'Dennis issues' or is this about that damn game..,. everyone's picking on me I'll just leave right now, and its amazing how you guys haven't defended me from Day 1," he said.
Ivanka disagreed, saying that she had seen the opposite from his teammates up through even the most recent task and had rallied behind him and even were complimentary of him during the early section of the task.
"I do not think that they were saying that you weren't capable of stepping up or that you weren't a good leader, but I think they're saying that the drinking interfered with your ability to finish," she said.
Black added that he had wanted to win the task badly so Rodman could stay in the game and that he had supported him "100 percent." However, when asked by Trump who he would fire if KOTU lost the challenge, Black admitted that Rodman was easily the most viable candidate.
"I don't think I'd have a choice," Black said.
Trump then all but revealed Rodman's fate after announcing that while KOTU had received a score of 86 out of 100 from their guests, that Athena had won the task by scoring a 91 out of 100. He also did away with some of the usual theatrics and chose to make his firing quicker by not bothering to have Athena or any members of KOTU leave the room.
I sent you out, I wanted you to prove something Dennis, but you didn't prove it," Trump said."You let me down, you let yourself down, you let your team down. Dennis, you're fired."
The next episode of The Celebrity Apprentice will air on Sunday, April 5 at 9PM ET/PT on NBC.