Donald Trump fires Stephanie Castagnier on 'The Apprentice'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/19/2010
Donald Trump fired Stephanie Castagnier from NBC's non-celebrity revival of The Apprentice and determined its final four seventh-season finalists during Thursday night's broadcast of the reality competition's tenth episode.
The Apprentice star fired Stephanie, a 34-year-old from Chicago, IL, after her team Fortitude lost he season's tenth task, which required Fortitude and Octane to each produce and edit a 30-second commercial for Flo TV, a mobile television product. AT&T and Flo TV executives then determined a winner based on the commercials' creativity, brand representation, and clear and concise messaging.
Stephanie opted to be Fortitude's project manager and worked alongside Liza Mucheru-Wisner, a 30-year-old from Corpus Christi, TX, while Steuart Martens, a 27-year-old from Washington, D.C., volunteered to lead Octane -- which also included Brandy Kuentzel and Clint Robertson.
Fortitude's commercial represented a balance between a person's professional life and their love for entertainment. It featured an office meeting with employees who would rather be elsewhere -- including one staffer who resorted to watching his mobile television during the meeting. Stephanie had initially intended to use a scene in a baseball game setting, however they ultimately passed on the idea after Liza was unable to secure proper props, realistic backgrounds and a good location.
Octane chose to create a commercial with Clint, a 40-year-old from Austin, TX, as the actor, portraying him as a working family man who was out of the loop and seemed to be the only person without mobile TV. They represented the idea that people should not miss an enjoyable moment by just watching it live instead.
Octane's television commercial turned out well when they edited together different scenes featuring Clint as a frustrated outcast, consistently showing the actual brand and even the store at which the product could be bought. The team's commercial appealed to many different demographics and was apparently relatable.
Meanwhile, Fortitude's commercial became single-focused when they were forced to concentrate on office use when Liza was unable to secure an on-site filming location for the baseball scene and an in-studio attempt appeared fake. In addition, they also waited until the end of the commercial to introduce the brand.
Once the task ended, both teams met Trump in the boardroom. Stephanie and Steuart both believed their team's commercials to be successful, but Trump declared Octane the winner of the task after deeming the encouragement of mobile television usage in the workplace inappropriate.
Afterward, Trump questioned Fortitude about who decided to make the commercial work oriented. Stephanie admitted it was her idea, but proclaimed that it was a result of Liza's failure to find a location and buy props that would bring the initial baseball scene to life.
Trump's daughter Ivanka then defended Stephanie by voicing her opinion that Liza intentionally takes a small role in each task and remains in the background.
"You never won as project manager, you've only stepped up to be project manager once, and I believe that of everyone's who's left at this point in the game, you're the only one whose never won," Ivanka said.
Liza claimed she had many good ideas that Stephanie shot down, but even Donald Trump Jr. eventually agreed with Ivanka and Stephanie's claims that Liza doesn't step up to the plate often or take control in a task.
"This is a consistent thing that I've seen in which Liza has sat in the background. She steps up when I show up or during the boardroom, and then you hide behind it," he noted.
The ladies then bickered back and forth on who was to blame for the change of concept and lack of props when Ivanka told both girls their major flaw.
"Stephanie, this is what bothers me. You came up with a bad concept that you've owned and taken responsibility for, but I have another problem, which is Liza. The fact that I've never once heard you contribute to the concept win or lose," Ivanka explained.
Liza argued that she was part of the creative process and also had the idea to put the content of Flo TV at the beginning of the commercial -- an idea which Stephanie declined, turning out to be a poor decision.
"Stephanie, was that your fault or Liza's fault? Be honest," Trump asked.
"I directed the video," Stephanie replied.
"Thank you," Liza said.
"Stephanie let me just tell you this. It's very simple. I'm not happy with Liza, but you're the project manager and you have to say you came up with the concept, and that was the single biggest problem you had," Trump explained.
And as the project manager, Trump felt she was ultimately responsible for the concept and therefore to blame for the commercial's production and failure.
"Stephanie, you're the project manager," Trump stated. "Stephanie, you're fired."
Although it was the end for Stephanie on The Apprentice, Trump wanted Liza to know she was on the cutting block, and shouldn't consider herself safe just yet.
"Liza, I was not happy with you one bit," Trump told her. "You better get your act together please."
Stephanie felt her reasons for going home weren't justified, and she was angry that Liza got to stay and continue fighting for the position that she truly doesn't deserve.
"For anyone out there who has ever worked with someone who is incompetent and was completely frustrated everyday I feel you, because there is nothing more frustrating than working with a colleague who can't pull their weight," Stephanie said following her elimination.
"I definitely think Mr. Trump made the wrong decision in firing me over Liza. I specifically told her what to do on this task and she didn't do it, so there's nothing more I could have done unless I could have drawn her a picture maybe in crayon."