Tito Ortiz the eighth 'The Celebrity Apprentice' candidate fired
By Christopher Rocchio, 02/29/2008
Tito Ortiz can lift a lot of weight but was unable to carry the burden of being project manager for the designated task, and the mixed-martial arts fighter became the eighth candidate fired by Donald Trump during last night's The Celebrity Apprentice broadcast on NBC.
"I had fun. I really wouldn't take back anything," said Tito after he was given the boot. "I think the only thing I'll regret is maybe I should have worked a little harder. I met some great people on this show, and it was nice to work with Mr. Trump. So in the long-run, watch me in the octagon kick some ass!"
The Celebrity Apprentice's ninth episode began with the seven remaining candidates meeting Trump, Ivanka and advisor George Ross at New York City's Hearst Tower.
For their next task, Team Empresario and Team Hydra would each have to create a four-page advertorial in Redbook Magazine for Dial soap's newest product. The team's would be judged by both Dial executives and Redbook's editor based on creativity, integration of the brand and overall message content. Each team would receive a photographer and studio for their shoot.
Hydra chose supermodel Carol Alt as their project manager. While The Apprentice first-season contestant and reality show retread Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth nominated herself for the position with Hydra if nobody else would take it, Tito decided he'd accept the role. The task's winning project manager would receive $20,000 for their charity, however Trump also warned there was risk involved.
"I only caution you, project manager's have a pretty good chance of being fired, although in this particular [season], that hasn't happened very much," explained The Donald. "Project managers... you really are on the line."
Hydra -- consisting of Carol, America's Got Talent judge Piers Morgan and professional boxer Lennox Lewis -- were the first to meet with the Dial and Redbook executives. Piers immediately questioned on how racy the advertorial could be, and while the executives said there was no specific line, taste and good judgement were important.
Carol wanted to do something "simple, sexy and beautiful," and the team decided on telling the story of a woman who uses Dial at different moments throughout her day.
Empresario -- consisting of Tito, Omarosa, actor Stephen Baldwin and country star Trace Adkins -- then met with the executives and learned that Redbook's audience includes a lot of country music fans. Stephen immediately envisioned Trace in a bathtub wearing nothing but cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and his guitar.
As Hydra worked out the details of their shoot, Piers didn't like that all of the female models provided for the team were younger since Redbook's core demographic is middle-aged to older women. He suggested Carol be the model for their advertorial, and she was initially hesitant.
"I was totally against it," said Carol. "Donald said, 'The project manager will most likely be fired.' I didn't want modeling to interfere with my leadership."
Piers thought it was "ridiculous" that Carol wouldn't step up and warned her that if they lost the task without her starring in the advertorial, it would be on her head anyway.
"I just needed you to convince me," she told Piers. "I've got to say I rose to the challenge."
With Lennox working as director Hydra's shoot commenced, and frames included Carol holding a baby and relaxing in the bath tub. The last shot was the risky one, with Carol in bed having her shoulder nibbled on by a male model.
"It's a bit of suggestion that Redbook girls like to have sex," said Piers. "Not a problem at all."
In Empresario's studio, Omarosa noticed that Tito needed a lot of help as the project manager and commented how Stephen was really "driving the ship." As their shoot began, it became quite clear Omarosa was right and Stephen really was running the show.
Since the advertorial was for Redbook and Stephen had been largely utilizing a topless girl in a cowboy hat, Omarosa suggested they try using the male models -- and Trace -- shirtless. Stephen and Tito seemed to initially like the idea, and they went forward with it despite Trace being reluctant to remove his shirt.
However once the shots were taken, Stephen began to reconsider the idea of including them in the spread.
"It's the type of shots that the Redbook reader wants to see," said Omarosa. "Every woman in that room swooned as soon as he took his shirt off and stepped up there to pose."
Stephen called it a "risk" and said he'd rather "play it safe." Tito was having a hard time handling the "bossy" Omarosa and "overbearing" Stephen.
"I have the last say no matter what," said Tito. "I am project manager. The last call is mine."
Hydra then presented their advertorial to The Donald and the executives. As always, Piers made a smooth pitch as the team's frontman and the executives seemed to like the spread, even with the shot of the male model biting Carol's shoulder as the closer.
Empresario also gave their presentation, and Tito struggled when he was describing the content of their message. In addition, Empresario went against using the shirtless photo of Trace, instead using one where he had his clothes on and was playing guitar to a woman in a bath tub.
"If we lose, the responsibility will fall on Tito," said Omarosa. "The project manager just completely did not deliver."
The executive told Trump that Hydra's message was "very warm" and sensual, but not "over the top" sensual. One of the executives disagreed, calling it a "little provocative" and "unnecessary." While the executives thought Empresario's photographs and layout were "beautiful," they added the overall message was not consistent.
The two teams then gathered for The Celebrity Apprentice's ninth boardroom, where Trump was flanked by George and Ivanka.
While Tito said he thought Empresario did "very well," Trump quickly pointed out Tito "looked very nervous" during the presentation. Carol told The Donald she was "very confident" in Hydra's presentation before Trump reiterated his warning about the project manager being liable.
"I would rather be fired for standing up to a challenge than running away from one," answered Carol.
"That's a good line of crap," said Trump.
"If it was crap I wouldn't of stood up," she replied.
Trump then questioned the decision about including the racy photo, adding he was "really surprised" to see it. He then showed the teams each other's campaigns. Tito revealed the nature of Empresario's unused shot of Trace and explained why they decided against including it.
"I think it was going a little risky for that type of magazine," he said, although Omarosa disagreed.
Piers called Empresario's ad "boring, amateurish and does not hit the right demographic." As a former newspaper editor, Piers also bashed Stephen's editorial decisions and use of small print font.
Trump said he liked both campaigns -- but the executives thought Hydra's was "fantastic" -- meaning they won the task. Hydra was then sent to the War Room.
Tito told Trump how Omarosa initially wanted to be the task's project manager until the rest of team "pushed" the role on him. The two bickered about it, and Omarosa said she "surrendered" to Tito's decision. George wondered why Omarosa didn't step up due to her marketing background. She said that she didn't want to be "bogged down" as project manager and instead wanted to focus on other areas.
"The first thing I did with Tito was sit him down and help him understand the background positioning for Redbook," explained Omarosa. "There was no concept."
"Who's fault is it that there was no concept," asked Trump.
Omarosa singled out Tito and Stephen, calling the Baldwin brother "technically the project manager."
"We made a call conceptually, we were wrong," said Stephen.
Trace stuck-up for Omarosa since she made suggestions "nobody listened to" and said Tito was responsible since he let Stephen take charge. Tito then called Stephen "overbearing." Omarosa reiterated her "edgy" shot of Trace wasn't used, and Trump asked why.
"Stephen pretty much shot that down because he said it's too risky," said Tito.
"But you're the project manager," said Trump.
Omarosa said she'd fire Tito even though he initially included the Trace shot in the layout until Stephen adamantly asked it be removed. Trump said he wasn't going to exonerate anybody, but was curious who Tito would choose. Tito said Omarosa since she worked the hardest.
"I think it's so amazing that you said that Omarosa shouldn't be fired -- and probably she shouldn't be," said The Donald. "Trace came through for you unbelievably and I was really surprised... That leaves Tito and Stephen. Tito -- as much as it pains me -- I told you the project manager's neck was on the line. So Tito, you're fired."
"Sir it's been an honor to work for you," said Tito.
Trump then gave Tito $50,000 for his charity, St. Jude Children's Hospital.
The Celebrity Apprentice's next episode will air Thursday, March 6 at 9PM ET/PT on NBC.