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Jennie Finch the fourth 'The Celebrity Apprentice' candidate fired


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/25/2008 

Jennie Finch is used to throwing heat on the field and not taking heat in the boardroom, causing the 27-year-old Olympic softball player to become the fourth candidate fired by Donald Trump during last night's The Celebrity Apprentice broadcast on NBC.

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"Losing is hard to swallow.  It's tough and it's heart-wrenching knowing that we were so close.  I'm sad that I'm leaving my girls and I'm sad that I'm going home," said Jennie after her ouster.  "I really didn't think I got a chance or opportunity to show my leadership skills.  It was interesting to see the differences between The Apprentice business world and the softball field.  I look forward to getting back on the playing field."

The Celebrity Apprentice's fourth episode began following the previous boardroom session that saw KISS frontman and Gene Simmons Family Jewels star Gene Simmons basically do himself in, despite the fact that The Donald was clearly gunning to give former The Swan creator and television producer Nely Galan the boot. 

Upon learning of Gene's fate, America's Got Talent judge Piers Morgan commented how Gene "saved Nely and killed himself."

"Maybe Donald Trump doesn't like me," said Nely.  "But Gene Simmons certainly does!"

The 11 remaining candidates were then met with Trump, Ivanka and World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon.  Trump took the opportunity to tell the tale of how McMahon lost a Wrestlemania 23 bet that led to McMahon shaving his head before he explained the next task.

The all-female Team Empresario and all-male Team Hydra would each receive four "very successful, separate" Broadway shows that they would have two hours to sell tickets for, with the winning team determined by who brings in the most money.  Each team's project manager for the task would be able to choose a negotiator from their team to determine which of the eight shows Empresario and Hydra received.

Due to their previous experience with Broadway, Hydra nominated former The Sopranos actor and Dancing with the Stars dropout Vincent Pastore as their project manager while Empresario chose actress Marilu Henner, who gushed about her involvement with six Broadway shows. 

Marilu was "really confident," and that was only aided when she chose The Apprentice first-season contestant and reality show retread Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth as her negotiator.

"I gladly accept," said Omarosa when asked about the position.

Marilu immediately began to contact producers and other people in the Broadway scene that she has connections to, hoping to secure some fellow stage actors to come down and help with Empresario's cause.  Hydra was having difficulties and couldn't stop bickering about how to approach the task. 

Not surprisingly,  Stephen Baldwin wanted to be Hydra's negotiator, while Piers thought the actor and frequent celebrity reality show participant would be better suited working the phone and using his black book to contact high-profile people to buy tickets -- a plan that had proved successful in previous tasks.  Vincent agreed with Piers and appointed professional boxer Lennox Lewis as his negotiator.

Marilu, Omarosa, Vincent and Lennox all met in a room with the eight Broadway show options spread out in-front of them.  Vincent offered the ladies' first pick, and Marilu quickly snatched up Spring Awakening, which she knew was the hottest show available to them.  The negotiation process wasn't exactly civilized and Omarosa likened dealing with Hydra to "playing Monopoly with 3-year-olds."

With each team having the four shows they needed to sell tickets, Nely immediately got on the horn and began calling her contacts.  Piers reiterated his desire for Stephen to do the same, however Stephen didn't want to waste time and thought they should all be out on the street hawking tickets the old-fashioned way.

"If you are now going to deliberately not hit your high-rollers for the money as some form of proving me wrong, you are a shallow little man," Piers told Stephen.

"Boomerang..." Stephen called Piers before explaining what he meant in a confessional.  "When you're full of it, and you spew that stuff out, it's probably just going to come back and hit you right in the face."

As Vincent, Lennox and country artist Trace Adkins left the office to go down to the ticket booth in Times Square to start setting up, Piers, Stephen and mixed martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz stayed behind and started working the phones. 

Piers called British billionaire Richard Branson -- who played the Trump role on Fox's Fall 2004 The Rebel Billionaire reality series -- and Richard purchased $10,000 worth of tickets.  Following the big sale, Stephen and Piers quickly made amends.

The two-hour window to sell tickets then commenced, and both Hydra and Empresario opened their booths for business.  With the help of Marilu's Broadway contacts -- including Tony Award winning Curtains actor David Hyde Pierce -- Empresario seemed to be making money hand over fist and Nely was excited.

"I feel like Donald Trump thinks that I'm a loser," said Nely.  "I refuse to leave the show without proving to Donald Trump and everybody here that I'm a friggin' star!"

As has been the case for most of Empresario's previous tasks, Jennie and supermodel Carol Alt found themselves in the background, taking the cash and giving the tickets.

"Jennie, just like me, has been taking the garbage jobs that nobody else wants," explained Carol. 

Since one of Hydra's shows was Spamalot and Piers is British, it only seemed natural that Vincent suggest the former tabloid editor don a knight's costume to try and sell tickets on the street. 

Piers agreed, however Americans didn't really recognize him for his star-power and thus treated him like they would any other yahoo in a knight's costume, which Piers thought was "bloody rude."  However he was able to make Ivanka laugh and since he is "pretty famous back in England," Brits walking the street did purchase tickets from him.  Comedian Bob Saget also arrived to help Hydra's cause and Trace secured a $5,000 purchase from EMI.

At Empresario, Omarosa labeled Jennie as "vulnerable from Day 1" and added nobody sees her as a leader.

"I think the hardest thing for me in this task was being in the tent -- again -- not being able to use my assets and show any leadership skills," opined Jennie.  "I'm stuck in this booth, I'm hidden once again."

Vince then arrived at Empresario's booth and wasn't very impressed by what he saw.  He thought Empresario was doing "more order taking," which does "not necessarily attract the audience they need to attract."  He was also critical of their decision to not highlight David Hyde Pierce's presence more noticeably. 

With 15 minutes left in the task, Nely was still waiting on a cashier's check to arrive and Piers was also anxiously waiting for Branson's $10,000 to arrive.  Some of Branson's assistants arrived with less than two minutes left, and Piers was relieved.

The two teams then gathered for The Celebrity Apprentice's fourth boardroom, where Trump was flanked by Ivanka and Vince.  While Marilu said she was "very confident" and "pretty sure" Empresario won the task, Vincent only said Hydra "probably did the best we could" and didn't seem to optimistic.  Tito singled out Piers as Hydra's MVP since he donned the costume and worked the street and also brought in a high roller like Branson.

"Oh good... Nice guy," said Trump of Branson, presumably having to bite his tongue since the Virgin mogul just made a $10,000 charity donation.

Vince reiterated his feeling that Empresario should have used David Hyde Pierce better and was also curious as to why Carol and Jennie -- two attractive women -- were hidden in the ticket booth.

"It's time for them to win," said Trump about the 0-for-3 Empresario.  "It's going to be very, very depressing if you lose again."

Vince revealed Empresario raised a "very impressive" $31,757, only to have Ivanka reveal Hydra raised $33,300, giving the guys their fourth-consecutive task victory.  The girls looked stunned, particularly Marilu.

"We've always been overmatched in terms of star-power, size and in terms of black book," she said. 

Piers said "star-power played no part in the challenge" before Omarosa criticized him for dressing like a "clown."  Vincent came to Piers' defense and put Omarosa in her place.

"You just criticized my man Piers for dressing up like a knight and walking around Broadway... You called him a clown," said Vincent to Omarosa. 

"That's not star-power.  People didn't even know who he was until they saw him.  That's being a barker!  That's going out there and selling tickets!  It's like the old days when my dad used to walk up and down with a sandwich board around him.  That's what this man did.  That's why he's our most-valuable player.  He brought in the high rollers and then he put on the sandwich board."

Nely then explained she thought the reason Empresario lost is because her two contacts with the cashier's check got there "two minutes after they closed us down," making the donation null.  She blamed their delay on the "rain and traffic."  The Donald then revealed for winning the task, Vincent's charity -- The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research --  would receive $50,000.

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.

"I'm a little embarrassed for the women," said Trump.

Carol said Empresario "pulled out all the stops" to win the task and came up just short.  Marilu said she felt sick to her stomach before gushing about how well Hydra works together, which the guy's enjoyed hearing in the War Room.  Vince agreed the guys would "do anything to win" and reiterated how he felt that wasn't the case with Empresario.  Omarosa characterized Carol as "flying under the radar" in the competition.

"I know we have so much talent and I think we over think things," said Jennie.  "It's been our fault."

Omarosa suggested Trump fire Carol since she's been the team's "weakest link" because she's "up and down" and there's "no consistency."  Carol then went on the offensive against Omarosa, labeling her as "very weak" and trying to drag other members down for making them feel "insecure."

"This is our group and she's eating it up from the inside out.  Our group should advance together.  We should look for each other's weaknesses and support them -- not exploit them so we don't get fired in the boardroom," said Carol of Omarosa.  "As a business woman, I have no respect for her at all."

Jennie added she and Carol had "consistently been in that assistant role," and Nely suggested Trump fire Marilu because she shouldn't have been the project manager and should have instead spent time using her Broadway star-power to sell tickets.  The Donald disagreed because Marilu knows Broadway better than any of the other team's members.

Trump then asked Marilu who'd be staying in the boardroom with her, and she answered Carol and Jennie.  Prior to firing one of the three women, Vince said Jennie doesn't "seem to have the same competitive spirit that she has on the mound."

"I think Marilu has to stay if this team has a chance for victory," said Ivanka.  "I think she's really their only shot.  She's smart and I think she tends to come-up with the big ideas.  Without her, I think you can write-off next week."

Marilu, Carol and Jennie then returned to the boardroom.  Marilu explained she, Nely and Omarosa "work very well together," which is why she decided to be flanked by Jennie and Carol.  Donald then expressed Vince's concern about Jennie not having the same "energy" as when she's on the mound.

"I think it's hard.  I think it's hard when you sit in a room with Omarosa and Nely and boom, boom, boom... It just wipes you out," said Jennie.  "It's hard to see just such a harsh, nasty environment.  I'm not used to that..."

"And you shouldn't get used to it," answered Trump.

"I don't want to!" replied Jennie.

"Don't get used to it.  Stay the way you are.  I think you're fantastic," said Trump.  "But Jennie -- for my purpose -- you're fired.  It's just not your world, and you know what, I like your world better."

The three women then departed the boardroom.

"That was the right call," said Vince, and Trump and Ivanka agreed.

The Celebrity Apprentice's next episode will air Thursday, January 31 at 9PM ET/PT on NBC.



(Photo credit NBC)


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