Scott Hamilton gets eliminated from NBC's 'The Celebrity Apprentice'
By John Bracchitta, 03/09/2009
Olympic figure skating champion and former Skating with Celebrities judge Scott Hamilton did his best to unite his The Celebrity Apprentice team as project manager during last night's broadcast of the NBC reality show's second episode but ultimately fell victim to the responsibility that comes with such a position and became the second contestant fired from the competition.
"I am bitterly disappointed, but I'm also a very happy and positive person," Hamilton said following his elimination. I feel like I could've done much better than I did. But I have my family, that's first and foremost, and I have my mission of curing cancer in my lifetime to get back to, and my career. So it's onward and upward."
The Celebrity Apprentice's second second-season episode began the men's Kings of the Universe (KOTU) team trying to make sense of their loss to the women's Athena team during the competition's first task. Worried that his teammates had made some calculated decisions designed to ensure that comedian Andrew Dice Clay would be the contestant fired if they'd lost the task, fellow comedian and TV personality Tom Green decided it was best to watch his own back in the upcoming tasks.
"It's interesting, you can't really trust anyone here," he said.
The two teams then gathered and met with The Donald, CNBC anchor Erin Burnett and Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh and were told that for their next task they would be teamed with a group of artists to make a four-page comic centered around a character they created for Zappos.com -- an online clothing store -- that advertised the company's culture as well as the importance it places on quality customer service.
After pitching ideas to a focus group and creating their character and comic book, each team would present their results to Tony, who would determine the task's winner. Trump added that the winning team's project manager would receive $20,000 to donate to their charity, while the losing team would face Trump in the boardroom where one of their members would be sent home.
Before the meeting ended, Trump also asked each team to name the project manager for the upcoming task. Athena decided first, choosing Keeping up with the Kardashians star Khloe Kardashian.
"I own clothing stores, so maybe that was a part of the decision. But I'm a little confused because I'm not familiar with online," Khloe said after she had been selected.
KOTU selected next and chose Hamilton.
"I think that they saw me as the voice of reason possibly last week and as the one that's really organized," Hamilton said regarding his choosing. "Maybe that's what we need in this task, and I'm not gonna survive here by shying away from leadership. I just cant do that."
The teams then individually met with Tony and he outlined his expectations for the project, after which each team began coming up with their own ideas for the character and comic book.
Athena's meeting quickly hit a snag when Khloe was unable to maintain any order as the women kept talking over and interrupting each other -- most notably professional poker player Annie Duke.
"I think Khloe, as a strong a personality as she is, I don't think Khloe is all that comfortable with telling people what to do. Our team definitely has alpha females," said Deal or No Deal suitcase model Claudia Jordan. "I think our team would work so much faster if a couple of these girls did not talk as much."
After Khloe eventually brought an end to the chaos and told the team that they were "going in circles" while accomplishing nothing, Annie suggested that the team split into a "design" group and a "script" group. While the idea was generally accepted, comedienne Joan Rivers took issue with the group assignments after she was not chosen to work in the writing group.
"Annie's totally taken over and decided that she's gonna write the presentation, and I think that was really stupid considering I've had four plays that I've written on Broadway, two series, and a motion picture. You're an idiot," Joan said later.
Khloe eventually grew into her role as project manager and took more control of the team, suggesting that the comic feature a girl character.
Meanwhile at KOTU, Scott emphasized that he didn't want "chaos" during the meeting and told the team to utilize everyone's differences instead of using them to separate each other.
However, Scott seemed to eat his words a bit after hearing retired NBA basketball player and former Celebrity Mole Yucatan winner Dennis Rodman's idea that the comic should feature a transvestite.
"I felt that Zappos.com ultimately was a family brand and Dennis is so far off the beaten path," he said. "I didn't feel it was appropriate to the task or to Zappos.com."
Some of the members also began to take issue with country singer Clint Black who kept interrupting the other teammates with his ideas. An argument eventually ensued between Clint and Dennis, while Tom took issue that Scott didn't intervene.
"Scott just let the team argue and scream at each other," Tom said. "It was outrageous."
At Athena Joan and Claudia eventually came up with idea of Mizz Z, an average woman who turns into a superhero and spreads good customer service, while Melissa Rivers added in the tag line "It's not just a dream, it's Zappos. It's reality" that the team liked.
The team then presented their character to a focus group of comic book fans. Claudia pitched the idea to the group, who responded positively to the idea, but seemed more awestruck by the presence of former Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick than anything else.
KOTU then met with the focus group. however, without as many solid ideas as Athena, Scott decided to use the group to bounce their basic ideas off of them and see the best direction to go in. Tom once again noticed that Scott didn't try to take control of the meeting and some of the focus group members later noted that it was apparent that KOTU had not been prepared to meet with them.
Scott added later that he felt Tom was "performing" during the meeting instead of contributing anything as he went on various tangents about possible ideas.
"We are in so much trouble," Scott said after the meeting.
Former Monster Garage star Jesse James also noticed that the team was in trouble as Scott was unable to make a final decision on a character with time dwindling.
After more discussion, the team eventually decided on the character of a tired woman who comes home from work and gets sucked into the computer before coming out energized with clothing from the Zappos.com site. With an idea in hand, Jesse, Dennis and R&B singer Brian McKnight left to design the character's costume while the other teammates worked on writing the comic itself.
Joan, TLC music group member Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins Joan, and LPGA golfer Natalie Gulbis left to design their costume for Athena as well -- despite Joan's continued objections that she should be writing instead.
Upon meeting with the men, Erin immediately noticed that they were lacking in their organization and time planning.
"The men seem to me to be rather disorganized. They spent most of their day figuring out what their character would be and now there's a race to the finish," she said. "But I will say that they appeared to have a very clear storyline. There was evidence that they'd put some time into thinking about that."
While Tom began stressing names for the character that started with Z, Scott ignored him because of his growing anger towards him and constant interruptions.
Scott eventually decided on naming the character E.E.E., for "Everywhere. Everything. Every Time."
"We had to make a decision, we came back to what this character does, and it's about her power. She can be everywhere, everything, every time, and we felt that it really represented Zappos.com," Scott said, explaining his decision.
"I'm weighing-in that I think it's weird, but if you wanna call her E.E.E. that's fine," Tom told the team as Scott rushed to get the comic started.
Both teams completed their costumes, with Athena putting Natalie in a blue top with a black leather skirt and KOTU assembling a purple and metallic silver suit for their character, while also finishing up their scripts.
On Athena, Claudia was slowed by a sudden sickness and was told to go home by Khloe and get better before having to lead the presentation the following day.
On KOTU, Tom was again ignored by his team and left out of writing duties, despite reminding them that he had sold four film scripts. When Tom once again brought up that he disagreed with naming the character E.E.E. and suggested Zappos instead, Scott just told him to sit down and be quiet.
The following morning, before presentation began and the team still was mired with writing their script, Scott again was troubled by Tom, saying he's "sabotaged me at every point during this game" when referencing his continued behavior during the team's meeting.
However despite previously ignoring him during the writing process, the team, citing his outgoing nature, then sought out Tom to read the narration of the presentation.
Meanwhile, 45 minutes before the presentation Annie and Brande set out to complete their presentation by picking up their needed supplies.
The presentations then got underway, with Athena going first as they presented their character Mizz Z. They were followed by KOTU's presentation of E.E.E.
Tony liked KOTU's focus on the customer and communicating the site's focus on community service. However, he didn't like the focus on the letter "E" for the character's name when given the opportunity to work with the letter "Z" given the website's name.
He added that, aside from utilizing the letter "Z," that Athena had "captured [the site's] core values and company culture." However he did note that Claudia had stumbled during her presentation and had said "Zappo" instead of "Zappos."
Both teams then gathered in the boardroom where they were met by Trump. After saying he was somewhat surprised by how good of a job Khloe had done as project manager, he asked Scott whether or not he had liked his project manager position for KOTU after a subpar performance during the team's first task.
"In skating, the toughest jump in the world is the one right after you fall. the next one your confidence in shaken," Scott said. "This is a game, but it's also about work and it's also about business, and I took that very seriously."
In regard to his constant bickering with Scott, Tom said that Scott had stepped up to the task, but added that he disagreed with many of his decisions and that he had not been able to control the team.
Scott responded that he had been asked to be project manager and had not requested the role.
After more bickering between Tom and Scott, Brian said that the team's problem had continued to be that no one was willing to put aside their egos and respect authority.
Joan brought up the fact that Annie had specifically asked her not to compete in the writing of the script and said she felt disrespected.
After being given each other's comics, Trump took issue with Scott's decision to name the character E.E.E.
"'E' is not 'Z,'" he told Scott.
Before the decision, Tom admitted that he did not expect to win the challenge, mostly because of the name choice by Scott.
After some more deliberation Trump revealed that Athena had won the challenge, giving $20,000 to Khloe's charity, The Friendship Hero Foundation.
After the women left the boardroom, Trump ripped into the men. Scott said that he had wanted to bring the team together, and added that it had worked except for Tom.
Tom added that he was just trying to bring up ideas, to which Scott added that he felt like Tom was putting on a show and not doing work.
Trump then asked both Brian and retired NFL football player Herschel Walker who he felt should be fired. While Herschel responded that Tom should go, Brian answered simply "Whoever came up with that name." Dennis added that Scott should be fired because he was too soft as a project manager.
Jesse and Tom also brought up Clint as a possible candidate for firing because of his nature to argue with everybody. Clint added that Tom was "undermining Scott on purpose" and should be fired.
Trump than asked Scott to pick two people to keep in the boardroom with him for elimination. Scott only wanted to keep Tom, but told Trump he was going to bring Herschel along as well in more of an advisor role.
Scott said that he had made an attempt to keep Tom away and was "frantic" during meetings. Tom rebutted that Scott had not understood what he was trying to do.
"I don't think anybody could understand what you were doing!" Scott said.
"Scott, would you rather I argued and yelled at everybody like Clint, your friend that you couldn't control?" Tom responded. "I was trying to being positive enthusiasm."
Tom added that he felt belittled and ganged up on. Herschel said that he didn't feel as if Tom was ganged up on, but said that he questioned too much and wouldn't shut up.
After realizing that Herschel was there for no reason, he dismissed Herschel leaving only Tom and Scott in the boardroom. Upon leaving, he correctly guessed that Scott would be going home.
Before he made his final decision, Trump gave each contestant a chance to say why each other should be fired. Tom stressed that Scott could not control the team, and added that he felt he could because he could work well in a creative medium.
"Nothing got done," Tom said.
Scott was brought under additional fire for his E.E.E. name, with Trump and Erin both saying that the name had been one of the main reasons they had lost the challenge. Scott also took fire for not bringing in Clint, with Trump saying that he deserved the second spot in the boardroom before Herschel did.
Trump seemed to lose his final straw when Scott cut off Tom while he attempted to note that they had both survived testicular cancer.
Erin reiterated once again that "the name was the issue," with Donald Trump Jr. agreeing with her.
Trump called the "E.E.E." a big mistake and said that because it was his decision, he had been fired.
The next episode of The Celebrity Apprentice will air on Sunday, March 15 at 8PM ET/PT on NBC.