Gene Simmons the third 'The Celebrity Apprentice' candidate fired
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/18/2008
Even though Donald Trump tried to steer him in the right direction, Gene Simmons couldn't distinguish between being tough and acting stubborn, causing the KISS frontman and Gene Simmons Family Jewels star to become the third candidate fired by The Donald during last night's The Celebrity Apprentice broadcast on NBC.
"I trusted my gut more than the two executives I met," said Gene following his ouster. "I'm more qualified to make those decisions, simply because I'm in the people business. I stand by my conviction and my decisions, every one of them. In their present form, the women don't have a popcorn-fart chance of even shining the guy's shoes."
The Celebrity Apprentice's third episode began with Trump, Ivanka and CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer meeting the 12 remaining candidates at a park. For being the winning project manager during the previous task for the all-male Team Hydra, Gene received $20,000 for his charity, The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Since the all-female Team Empresario had lost both of the first two tasks -- Hydra had a two member advantage, and Trump decided to even things up by asking Gene if he'd be willing to switch teams.
"Can you do it? Do you want to do it?" inquired Trump, adding that if Gene accepted he'd also have to serve as Empresario's project manager for the upcoming task. Not surprisingly, Gene's ego wouldn't let him turn the offer down.
"It's a roll I was born for," said Gene. "I'm the king of all women."
The 12 remaining candidates then met two Kodak executives, who explained that for their next task, they'd be given an Airstream trailer and a graphic artist, and each team would be responsible for creating and operating a mobile printing station for Kodak on the streets of New York City. They'd be judged on originality, brand messaging and profit.
As the two teams departed, Gene called himself Empresario's "benevolent dictator, a comment that didn't go unnoticed by The Apprentice first-season contestant and reality show retread Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth.
Instead of the entire team meeting with the two Kodak executives to learn the marketing strategy they should use, Gene made a decision to send only two members while the rest worked on the task's visual presentation. Gene immediately began to banter around the phrase, "It's a Kodak world," and once he had it in his head he repeated it ad nauseam.
Things seemed to be going much smoother for Hydra, which elected mixed martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz as their next project manager. The entire team met with the Kodak executives and listened intently to discover that "affordable, premium ink" was what the company was trying to use as their key marketing strategy.
Meanwhile Gene sent The Swan creator and producer Nely Galan and supermodel Carol Alt to meet with the Kodak executives, and Nely did way too much talking and not enough listening. Carol said she couldn't stop Nely from running her mouth, and by the end, Carol said she noticed that the executives looked "lost."
When Nely and Carol returned to report to Gene, Nely informed him that Kodak's message is "selling printers" -- which was inaccurate and Gene knew it -- however he thought the executives were wrong because they didn't share the same branding message as he did.
"It's a Kodak world..." Gene continued to mutter, turning what wasn't a half-bad slogan to begin with into something that was becoming empty and hollow.
Both teams continued to work, and Ivanka dropped by to see the progress being made by Hydra. After downing what America's Got Talent judge Piers Morgan estimated to be over 30 Red Bulls, actor and frequent celebrity reality show participant Stephen Baldwin was ranting and jumping around like a madman. Piers realized everything Stephen was saying and doing was "meaningless" and understood "it's about the ink," so he suggested Hydra take Tito and professional boxer Lennox Lewis and place them in a campaign with the slogan that Kodak's ink is going to knock out the competition.
"Kodak presents the ink revolution that's going to knock you out!" excitedly stated Stephen, and Piers agreed it was good.
Gene had all the Empresario women doing what Nely described as "leg work," however she saw herself as his CEO and seemed to enjoy the role.
"Gene Simmons let us do all the work, and he'll take all the credit," foreshadowed Omarosa. "But I don't care as long as we get a win."
Hydra seemed strategically organized, as Lennox, former The Sopranos actor Vincent Pastore and country artist Trace Adkins returned from checking out the trailer while the other team members worked on graphics. The final touch was photographing Lennox and Tito laying down with their heads near the ink cartridge -- however instead of taking the picture on the floor -- Stephen stood on the table and had Lennox and Tito lay-down on it.
It was a disastrous decision, as all three men tried to get off the table at the same time causing its other end to lift off the ground, strike another table, and spill coffee on the computer that contained "every single piece of artwork" they had spent eight hours creating.
"Stephen Baldwin managed to pluck total disaster from the jaws of obvious victory," commented Piers, describing it as a "catastrophe."
Trace tried to calm Hydra down as everyone went into panic mode, and it worked as they slowly began to realize they had to come-up with Plan B.
"So we are left here at nearly midnight," explained Piers, "having to go to an outside printers to get stuff printed which may or may not happen... The clock is ticking. I think we've got a very tough day ahead of us tomorrow."
The next day, it became clear right from the beginning that it was going to be Hydra's message versus Empresario's presentation. Gene once again referred to himself as the "king of the women" and expected his team members to flaunt their sexuality to help sell the product. Jim Cramer stopped by and got fed a bunch of BS by Gene, unable to get a word in edge wise, which Gene took to mean that he was impressed.
Jim then dropped by Hydra and explained he got a "mixed message" since their presentation was so "sloppy" but their concept for the product was spot-on. The Kodak executives then arrived, and Omarosa was impressed by Gene's smooth-talking skills.
After a shaky start, Tito said things were "going very well" for Hydra and it only got better as Alec Baldwin arrived, and his little brother Stephen gave him the sales pitch.
"Well there's no one more full of crap than Stephen," said Alec. "So he sounds like a good salesman." Alec purchased some of the printers, and Piers noted he paid $1,000 each, calling it a "charity donation."
"It showed everyone what a real Baldwin is," said Piers. "Because obviously, Alec Baldwin... massive TV star. Stephen Baldwin?"
The Kodak executives then arrived at Hydra's trailer, and Piers pushed the ink revolution angle hard, aware that the team's presentation was presumably lacking compared to Empresario.
With the task in the books, the executives then met with Trump, who said the executives liked both of the teams but "loved the work of one team." Not surprisingly, Hydra was characterized as "sloppy" in terms of their presentation while Empresario had "great imaging" and it's slogan was a "winner."
The two teams then gathered for The Celebrity Apprentice's third boardroom, where Trump was flanked by Ivanka and Jim. Omarosa immediately told Trump about Gene's "benevolent dictator" comment before Gene had to explain himself for not attending the meeting with the Kodak executives while Tito had to answer for his team's sloppy presentation.
"A lot of what happened today was about trying to reposition a great American brand... Less about kind of a warm, fireplace Kodak and more of a current, technology, world-beating INK Kodak," said Jim. "When it came to the message of what Kodak's trying to do now -- it was about value and ink -- and I saw that everywhere in [Hydra's] presentation."
Despite the "sloppy" presentation, Trump said "the product spoke for itself" and the Kodak executives loved what Hydra did, awarding them their third consecutive task victory. Tito received a $20,000 donation for his charity, St. Jude's Children's Hospital for Cancer Research. Hydra was sent to the War Room, where they'd be able to watch the rest of the boardroom session play out until Trump made his decision.
Gene's stubbornness then reared its ugly head, as he told Trump that Empresario "couldn't have done a single thing better." Omarosa disagreed, telling Trump the team "did not completely get a big vision" from Gene because he never met with the executives and was thus "never clear" on what the team was supposed to deliver.
Ivanka said the executives criticized Nely for not listening during the meeting with executives when they were trying to hammer home the point that it's about the ink. Trump criticized Gene for not going to the meeting, but he stood by his presentation and how visually "seductive" it was.
"So you're really saying the client was wrong?" asked Trump.
"I believe that and I would say it to their face," proclaimed Gene. "You've got to have the conviction of your belief to be successful."
Ivanka said Gene's "sticktoitiveness" was clearly evident, and accused him of "standing behind a concept that didn't work."
"I disagree. I think we succeeded and the client didn't recognize it," said Gene.
"Yeah but you'll never get credit for that... Not here," answered Ivanka, and Hydra thought Gene was digging himself a deep hole.
Trump then turned his attention to Nely for running her mouth to much and not listening. Carol wouldn't place the blame solely on Nely, and said "we talked quite a bit." Trump wasn't buying it since the executives singled out Nely. Gene interjected.
"I stand by everything you saw on that street. It's a Kodak world... Welcome," he said.
"You know what Gene?" answered Trump. "You've been saying that, and you've said it more than once, the fact is at some point there's a winner and a loser, and tonight you're a loser."
Omarosa then further embarrassed Gene by telling Trump to ask him the name of the printer, aware he didn't know the answer, which he didn't.
"I don't care," said Gene.
Carol said if she had to do the firing, "it would be a toss up" between her and Nely. Trump was surprised and Gene disagreed and defended both women. Olympic softball player Jennie Finch, Omarosa and actress Marilu Henner all said they would fire Gene. Nely said she'd fire Jennie.
"You'd fire Jennie?!" said Trump. "Where the hell did Jennie come from!"
Nely explained Jennie is "a wonderful person" and "takes direction very well," but isn't a good leader. Trump correctly pointed out it wasn't Jennie's job to lead, and then Jennie defended herself. Trump said for the second week in a row, Nely was in the "best position" to win the task for Empresario and failed.
Trump then asked Gene who'd be staying in the boardroom with him, and Gene answered Omarosa.
"No kidding," said Trump. "Oh Gene. I don't get it. You may not like her... She's not the reason you lost. I think you're doing yourself a tremendous disservice. I'm almost trying to help you! I could see if -- Nely, in all due respect -- I could see if you brought back Nely, because the executives did not like Nely! Okay, give me a second name Gene. I'm doing this for you because you're doing yourself a tremendous disservice. Who else?"
"Ms. Finch..." answered Gene as Trump sent Empresario out of the boardroom before calling back Gene, Omarosa and Jennie, with Trump ultimately firing one of the three before the night was over.
"He just committed suicide. Donald Trump was gagging to fire Nely," said Piers from the War Room. Ivanka also didn't understand Gene's decision and knew it would most likely lead to his downfall.
Gene, Omarosa and Jennie then returned to the boardroom. While Omarosa said she thought it was "totally inappropriate" that Gene brought her into the boardroom, she understood why Jennie was there because she "has to step up." Jennie said she was sort of surprised to be there, aware she hasn't stepped up as a leader but was never supposed to.
"Gene what am I going to do?" asked Trump, no doubt rhetorically. "You brought back two people I practically told you that you shouldn't bring back. What the hell do I do? You're so independent, you're so tough... You're so tough!"
Trump then said he "can't fire" Jennie or Omarosa because they did nothing wrong.
"I have no choice... You know that," said Trump. "Gene, you're fired."
"I respect your decision," answered Gene.
"I don't know why you did this," said Trump. "I had no choice."
"He's a tough guy," said Trump once Gene, Omarosa and Jennie left the boardroom. "A good guy in many respects... But he's a tough guy. We had no choice."
The Celebrity Apprentice's next episode will air Thursday, January 24 at 9PM ET/PT on NBC.