Donald Trump's 'Apprentice' comes down to Kwame Jackson or Bill Rancic
By Wade Paulsen, 04/10/2004
After the next-to-last episode of NBC's The Apprentice, we know that the winner will have been a loser in all of the first four challenges on the show.
The final two candidates vying to be Donald Trump's "apprentice" in The Trump Organization on the Mark Burnett-produced show are Kwame Jackson, 29, an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in Manhattan and a Harvard M.B.A., and Bill Rancic, 32, the founder and CEO of the Chicago-based Web site Cigars Around the World and a graduate of Loyola U. of Chicago. Both Kwame and Bill were members of the original all-male VersaCorp team that lost the first four challenges to the all-female Protege team.
In the series' next-to-last challenge, the four remaining candidates were interivewed by a panel of Trump employees. Following the interviews, The Donald axed Nick Warnock, 27, a copier salesman from L.A., who finished fourth, and Amy Henry, 30, a veteran of several Internet companies and holder of an M.B.A. from Texas Chrisitan U., who finished third.
Although the episode showed that Amy, who was on the winning team in 11 of the show's 12 challenges (and was the only contestant remaining with a winning record), was fired because she didn't mesh well with The Donald's other employees in the interview sessions, we suspect that her choice of role models also might have helped do her in. In her official biography, Amy states that she tries to model herself on convicted felon Martha Stewart, who was forced to resign from her eponymous Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia -- a fate that Trump would not like to have befall him at The Trump Organization.
Although the announcement of the winner will be made during the live finale on April 15, Kwame's presence in the final two gives credence to three purported spoilers from back in March that stated or hinted that Kwame was the winner. On March 25, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, who hosts an L.A.-based radio show, said that he had "reliable information" that Kwame would become Trump's apprentice ... although he offered no clue about what that information was. Three days earlier, the NY Post reported that sixth-place finisher Katrina Campins had told partygoers at a Miami nightclub at 2 AM, after an all-night party, that Kwame won. And astute Web-watchers found out that Kwame is available to give speeches on "Working for Trump".
Each of these "spoilers" had so little credibility that they weren't worth reporting at the time. However, when they are combined with Kwame's presence in the final two, they suddenly seem much more credible....
To be honest, we were impressed with Kwame's decision on the penultimate show to keep calm and disclose nothing during his meeting with pop singer/Newlyweds star Jessica Simpson's manager and father Joe, even though logistics manager Omarosa couldn't locate Jessica or her band (and then tried to blame Kwame for her own lying and unbelievable ineptitude). At the same time, we were unimpressed by Bill's decision to "borrow" a co-worker's office for storage without clearing it with her first.
Since we know that Kwame's team ultimately fulfilled its task despite Omarosa's blunders and dishonesty, because Jessica Simpson and her band made it to her Oct. 25, 2003 concert at the Trump Taj Mahal, we tend to think that Kwame will be able to speak about "working for Trump" over a one-year period, not just during a reality-competition TV show.