Interview: Gibson & Snider Next to Leave "Celebrity Apprentice"

By Jamie Ruby

Celebrity ApprenticeDonald Trump returns with NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice, which is currently in its fifth installment, the twelfth in The Apprentice series overall. This season, eight celebrities compete, not for a job, but to raise money and awareness for their charities.

In the recent special three-hour episode, two celebrity contestants were eliminated - Debbie Gibson and Dee Snider.

Mr. Trump, along with the two recently eliminated contestants, recently talked to the digital media about their time on the show as well as their plans for the future.

NBC Universal Conference Call
Celebrity Apprentice
Donald Trump, Debbie Gibson, and Dee Snider

April 3, 2012
10:45 am CT

Celebrity ApprenticeQUESTION: Dee, you obviously weren't on the team to see what happened really with Arsenio and Aubrey during this past episode, but you spent a lot of time with them, and you were in the Board Room, so what was your take on what was going on over there between those two?

DEE SNIDER: Well Arsenio Hall is what you see as a person. He's easy-going, he's calm, he's cool, he's collected. It took all of 24 hours for Aubrey O'Day to drive him out of his mind. She makes people nuts.

QUESTION: Debbie how are things with you and Teresa now? And are you at peace with everything that went down in terms of your firing?

DEBBIE GIBSON: I'm very much at peace in the sense that I'm glad I didn't engage in a he said/she said. I'm not at peace with the fact that -- I found out later -- I actually raised more money than Dayana, and everybody who needs to know that knows that.

At the same time I felt the atmosphere getting kind of toxic at that point, so I was glad to go when I did. And in relation to Teresa, I've actually reached out to her. I told her that if she ever needs help with her charity, I'm here. I offered that, and I offered trying to reconcile, because it's really my goal in life to get along with people, not to not get along with people.

So - and, you know, she can either - she can take that as being sincere or not. She doesn't choose to see me as sincere, but at this point that's her issue, so we'll see what happens next.

QUESTION: Dee, to start off with you, you seem pretty sure that Lou should've been fired instead of you. Why do you think you were sent home instead?

DEE SNIDER: Well, the team was carrying Lou since Task 1. If you watch the episodes, you can see Lou is a one-note horn. He's an actor, and that's all he wanted to do was either be the Hulk, pick something up, flex his muscles or be in front of the camera. But beyond that, he could do nothing to help the team.

But everybody on the team supported Lou, and that was to my detriment because in the end, by taking on all the jobs that Lou couldn't do, I wound up being fired.

QUESTION: For both of you - like Debbie you just mentioned Dayana, but does she keep ending up in the Board Room? Why is everyone sort of turning against her do you think?

DEBBIE GIBSON: Well that I don't know. In fact I didn't bring her up in that context. And in fact I was the only person who refused to gang up on her in this particular episode. The day before the girls all basically formed an alliance and said, "We're going to target Dayana," and I said, "I'm sorry I can't do that because I wasn't around her all day. I didn't see that she did anything wrong. In fact, I think the project manager should be held accountable." And because I said that, the project manager went for me.

I do think that three people had jealousy issues with Dayana. I don't think she was the most creative or the most energetic worker, but I certainly didn't find her a deterrent or a distraction like everybody was saying in that final episode. And I think it - I think a lot of it was good old-fashioned jealousy because she's young and beautiful, to be quite honest.

DEE SNIDER: When she came to the men's team, Penn and I - we both didn't understand what the women were talking about.

DEBBIE GIBSON: She's smart.

DEE SNIDER: She seems smart, and she was helpful and, you know, I don't know, I didn't get what the problem the women had with her, but they certainly do have problems with her.

DEBBIE GIBSON: I went to brunch with her when my run on the show was done, so I have no problem with her whatsoever. I think she's sweet, and, you know, she's young and maybe being in her profession she hasn't had to get as down and dirty as, let's say, Lisa Lampanelli, being a comedian, but that's not her fault.

QUESTION: This is for Mr. Trump. First, those three hours flew by the other night. That was a great show.

DONALD TRUMP: You know, a lot of people said that. It was interesting, because I've never heard of a three-hour show. And a lot of people said how fast it went. And, you know, they don't make movies more than two hours because people can't watch, and yet as you know it did very well, especially the last hour did very well. And it was against the CMA awards on top of everything, but it's nice that you say that. But a lot of people have said that to me. It went very quickly.

QUESTION: We've seen Lisa, and I love Lisa too, but we've seen her get really emotional. Do you think it's okay to get emotional in business ever?

DONALD TRUMP: Well first of all, you haven't seen anything yet, because I can tell you that she is one of the most emotional people I've ever seen. And I wouldn't have thought so. I don't say that negatively, but I wouldn't have thought so.

And Debbie and Dee can attest to this, but she - things happened to Lisa that are unbelievable, and her hatred of Dayana I just don't understand. Because I happen to think Dayana is probably the most underrated person on the program - on the show. I think she's actually very smart, and she can kill you with the eyes and the look at the stare and all.

And I just don't know - I just don't get it. You know, they just go after her one after another. And, you know, Debbie has her reasons why. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think she's highly underrated.


And she's also very beautiful by the way, in case you haven't noticed...

DEBBIE GIBSON: I never really went after her per se. But yes I do think that Lisa - her emotions come from the fact that really a lot was dumped on her. I mean she really was the best writer in the group. Quite often she was the director. She had the loudest voice. I think she just was exhausted and stressed because she felt the pressure of delivering for a lot of people that weren't delivering.

QUESTION: We don't know what's going to happen with Aubrey yet, but is it ever okay - this is for Mr. Trump - to walk away from a business project? Would you ever advise that? Or you think that's the worst thing you could do?

DONALD TRUMP: Well I don't think it's okay. It depends on - you'll have to see what happens with Aubrey because it's an interesting episode coming up. But no I wouldn't say it's okay, generally speaking.

QUESTION: Mr. Trump, do you think that Arsenio was too hard on Aubrey? Or was she out of line?

DONALD TRUMP: No he was fighting for his point. He felt that she was trying to take his thunder and take his ideas that he had and she claimed, and he was just fighting for his point. And she defended herself. No it gets tough. It gets actually much tougher in the coming weeks. It gets unbelievably brutal actually. I mean this was peanuts compared what you're going to see in upcoming weeks.


But he feels very strongly about things and he fights for those things. And you'll see what happens.

QUESTION: Dee, you said it was time for the guys to stop carrying Lou. What was it about Lou that we haven't seen? Is he that different in the Board Room?

DEE SNIDER: Well he definitely presents a different person in the Board Room. And as I said before, Mr. Trump only knows what he sees in that room. He may hear little things, but he's not privy to all the goings on during the task itself.

And Lou is really a one-note horn. He's a performer, and all he ever wants to do is either be the Hulk, flex his muscles, or be on the camera on stage. And that's a great place to be, but in these tasks, there's so many other jobs that require talent and other abilities.

And we've just - everybody just went and carried Lou to help him because he felt kind of bad for him. But the rest of the guys - they've got to stop feeling bad for him and get rid of him. He's poison.

QUESTION: So my question is for both Debbie and Dee. Is there anything that you learned about yourself that you were surprised for partaking in the show?

DEBBIE GIBSON: I actually on the positive side of things realized that I was tougher than I knew and didn't care as much what people think. I mean when I was watching the episode back, you know, I didn't waver and say, "Oh I wish I would've done something differently to make" - even going back a few episodes, to make Tia like me or to make Dayana - I felt like, you know what? I made decisions, and people took things personally that they should not have.

And sometimes in business you're not always going to be popular. And I found that I was okay with that, because I grew up a people pleaser, so that actually surprised me.

DEE SNIDER: I learned that I've never worked on a team. Yes I've been in a band, but as a song writer, the video writer, I write movies myself, I write my book myself, I do everything by myself. It was really difficult for me, even though I think I did it effectively, it was still a stretch for me to work and consider everybody's opinion and try to be a team player. It was tough.

QUESTION: What is [does] the rest of the year look like for both of you? Is there anything exciting coming up?

DEBBIE GIBSON: Yes. Dee and I both have a lot of stuff going on. Dee's stuff is happening immediately. I'm helping him with his JAM for Autism April 19. I'm working on new music. I've just finished writing my new album. I'm going to go into the studio when all the press is over for the show.

I also wrote a musical called The Flunky with Jimmy Van Patten. We're debuting it out in LA later this year so lots of great stuff going on.

DEE SNIDER: I've got a new album coming out May 8 called Dee Does Broadway. I do duets with Patty LuPone, Bebe Neuwirth, Clay Aiken, Cindy Lauper.

My book, my memoirs, 'til penned, Shut Up and Give Me the Mic, are coming out on May 8, Gallery Books. I'm on a new sitcom called Holliston that premieres tomorrow night on FEARnet, and I'm the voice on a new Disney XT cartoon called Motor City with Mark Hamill and Jim Breuer, which premiers April 30. Other than that, nothing.

DEBBIE GIBSON: He's slacking off.

Donald TrumpDONALD TRUMP: Do I get a piece of this, folks? Do I get like a small piece? That's pretty impressive both of you. That's great.



DONALD TRUMP: They're - these are two incredible people by the way, I have to tell you. And they could've been winners. They had sort of a circumstance.

One of the things that he just got - I think was Dee was too nice to Lou and too respectful to Lou or it would've been Lou. But I actually wondered why didn't he hit Lou harder? And I think Dee probably realizes - I'm not sure that Dee would've changed because he's a quality person. So I'm not saying he did the wrong thing, but, you know, he could've been a winner. And he is a winner.

DEE SNIDER: Thank you.

DEBBIE GIBSON: He went out like a gentleman. I think that's (unintelligible).

DONALD TRUMP: He was a gentleman. Sometimes it doesn't help right Dee?

DEE SNIDER: No. It means I'm sitting home watching the show.

DONALD TRUMP: Being a gentleman sometimes isn't always a good thing. Anyway go ahead. Next question.

QUESTION: [Mr. Trump], once a charity's chosen, do you take into account which charities everyone is representing so different charities are represented?

DONALD TRUMP: We don't really do that. No. They're all good charities. We don't really go too much into that. People have their favorite charities. Sometimes there's an overlap. And if they're good charities we don't care. But seldom will there be an overlap. I think generally speaking - like Dee has been involved with his charity for a long time, and I think that - and by the way, he won almost $400,000 in a short period of time for his charity. That was on one night Dee right?

DEE SNIDER: Yes incredible. The money that I raised on that one episode would've taken me three years of charity motorcycle rides to do on Long Island, so it was just an incredible opportunity.

DONALD TRUMP: It was amazing.

DEBBIE GIBSON: I've been working with...


DONALD TRUMP: We just go by the quality of the person, and we know that people have all good charities.

QUESTION: If you could give me advice to any one going into the business world as [having experience with] the Celebrity Apprentice, what would it be?

DEBBIE GIBSON: Oh goodness.

DONALD TRUMP: Go ahead. Go ahead Dee and Debbie.

DEBBIE GIBSON: Well you mean in the context of this show? Or like in the real business world?

QUESTION: Both. Both.

DEBBIE GIBSON: I mean I feel like always come from a place of authenticity and integrity, and, you know, again I don't think that winning the competition necessarily means winning. I think that I judge my level of success by the fact I can put my head on the pillow every night and get a good night's sleep knowing that I was truthful.

And, you know, one of the things I love about Mr. Trump is he kind of demands that you're candid and honest, and I felt like always in the Board Room, he asked a direct question, I gave a direct answer. And I think ultimately that integrity over the years is what makes you a success in business.

DEE SNIDER: And I learned that whenever possible be the boss and rule with an iron fist.

DONALD TRUMP: Little truth to that.

DEE SNIDER: I'm watching you sir.

SCIFI VISION: This is for all of you. Can you talk about what contestant you've learned the most from? Or maybe had the most positive impact on you?


DEBBIE GIBSON: ...really (unintelligible) and learned from Lisa Lampanelli. She really - I mean I kind of grew up a people pleaser in a lot of ways, and she really takes not caring what people think to the next level, but she gets the job done. And I admire that. She wasn't precious or prissy. She just went and did it.

DONALD TRUMP: Who did you say?



DEBBIE GIBSON: Lampanelli. I liked her style.

DEE SNIDER: Yes. And I have to say Penn Jillette. While being the most likeable know-it-all in the world, he's very bright and he's very focused. And contrary to Clay Aiken's accusation, my farthead would not fit halfway up Penn's ass.

DEBBIE GIBSON: Did you try?

DEE SNIDER: That's what he said.

DEBBIE GIBSON: She's rolling her eyes over there. Sorry. Got a little naughty.

SCIFI VISION: Mr. Trump what do you think?

DONALD TRUMP: Well I can't really speak because I have to make a final decision, but I can tell you the two people you're talking about are two people that I learned a lot about. And, you know, they're very high quality. I think frankly had they been a little more vicious or ruthless, they maybe wouldn't be on this conversation right now.

And they chose not to go that route, and I respect that. They both had a couple of instances where they could've done it differently. Not done it better, but done it differently. It might've been worse, but I've gained great respect for the two people we're talking to. They're friends of mine now.


DEE SNIDER: Thank you sir.

SCIFI VISION: Mr. Trump, is there a contestant that you kind of see yourself in? Like something that you've seen them do? Maybe the way that they performed or a task that they did, or there was something that kind of stood out that reminded you of something maybe you did?

DONALD TRUMP: Of the two that we're talking about...


SCIFI VISION: Yes yes. Sorry.

DONALD TRUMP: Yes I think I might've taken a similar attitude about - like, you know, as an example, Dee could've - he was just open to attack Lou, but he didn't want to attack Lou for a lot of reasons. And I understand that. I understand those reasons.

And I think I might've done the same thing as he did, to be honest with you. I mean, you know, Lou is Lou, but I - he could've been - Dee is a very smart guy. He could've done a big number on Lou, and he chose not to. And I have a lot of respect for that, and I think I would've done the same thing.

DEE SNIDER: Thank you.

QUESTION: What a great show last night. It was absolutely fantastic.

DONALD TRUMP: Well it's been amazing. Any time you can hold people's attention for three hours on primetime network, that's pretty amazing I guess...I'm used to half hour shows.

QUESTION: You mentioned how much you respect these people. It must be really really hard though then to fire them.


QUESTION: Do you ever have regrets about doing it? Going, "Oh why did I do that?"

DONALD TRUMP: I have regrets about - sometimes I do. I this two - in the two cases here, that was a hard - to me it was very hard. You know, people think I enjoy firing people. I don't.

Now on the other hand, there have been contestants where I didn't even think about it. It was easy to fire, whether I didn't like them or it was so obvious. This was a very hard one for me, because I like them, and it was also not obvious. And I also knew they could've done things differently and possibly lived to fight another day, but they chose for very good reasons - for nice reasons they chose not to. And I respected that. I understood that when I was doing it.

QUESTION: Dee and Debbie, did you all consciously make that choice as you all were sitting there going, "I'm not going to go that way. I'm not going to attack this person," or...

Debbie GibsonDEBBIE GIBSON: Yes there was that moment of like, "I could attack. I could yell. I could fight dirty. I could get really defensive." Like I heard myself in the room say, "You know, I've sustained a 25-year career and run my business." And the minute I felt myself reciting my resume in defense of somebody coming after my skills and what I actually do in my career, I thought, "This just feels really wrong, and I feel like I'm now stooping to that person's level, and I just really don't want to go there."

And I thought, "What am I going to there for, unless I'm going to win the whole thing, what, to stay another week, and then have to work next to this person?" So I thought, "It's really okay. I won my $50,000 (unintelligible) Children International, I'm going with my head held high, and I felt fine about it at that point.

DEE SNIDER: And I'm very good friends with John Rich, and I really was impressed the way he handled himself last season. And I really modeled myself after John and the fact that I'm going to live or die by my own abilities and merits. I'm not going to do it by tearing others down. I thought John was a gentleman. I tried to be the same way.

Unfortunately, it didn't work out for me like it worked out for John, but I feel good about the way I did it.

DEBBIE GIBSON: That's funny you say that because I actually kind of modeled myself after Marlee. I went and had breakfast with her the minute I found out I was doing the show, and I said, "Tell me what you know." That's funny.

QUESTION: On both the regular Apprentice and the Celebrity Apprentice episodes that I've seen, there's a lot of fighting to the point where people are screaming at each other in the Board Room and getting kind of personal. And I was wondering if that's something that you would think is appropriate in [real business] sitting in an actual board room?

DEBBIE GIBSON: Well yes I think you just nailed it. It's great for television. Do I think that would work in actual business? No I don't think it's appropriate to take personal pot shots.

In fact, anyone who criticized me on a professional level, I was still able to go out and have a cup of coffee with them afterwards. I did not take any of those criticisms personally. It's the pot shots and the low blows that again, you know, that - it makes for ratings, but, you know, that - I don't think in the real world that you go very far with that kind of, you know, personality.

DEE SNIDER: Being unanimous was so efficient that Mr. Trump would call us boring from time to time because it's not good for TV. But I would say in the business world we'd be the first ones you'd want to hire if you got the job done.


DEE SNIDER: And we won a lot, but that's not good television...


DONALD TRUMP: That is true by the way. Sometimes good television isn't necessarily what, you know, that these are not necessarily the people that you'd hire.

Two people I would hire would be these two, believe me in a second. You know, I was at - first of all I've always been a fan of Dee's music. I think he's fantastic. And I was at Debbie's opening on Broadway.

DEBBIE GIBSON: Twenty years ago exactly.

DONALD TRUMP: And she was fantastic. So I was a little bit prejudiced anyway. But they're two great people. Yes these are two people that you'd really hire.

QUESTION: Mr. Trump you fired Debbie Gibson over Teresa, and Debbie brought up a point about Teresa being the project manager, but didn't bring in the most money. Was that ever a point to you to take into consideration at the Board Room?

DONALD TRUMP: Well it was a point. And another point was I never thought - I didn't think that - I think that Debbie was being very nice to Teresa, and I think from the show's standpoint that was a mistake. She understands that. But I think she could've fought Teresa much differently than she did. Don't you agree Debbie?

DEBBIE GIBSON: Yes. And I think you're right. I could've and it wasn't as riveting for television and for going forward. But the fact of the matter is, I just wasn't comfortable fighting in that way.

Teresa said it many times over the course of the show. She said, "When I'm attacked, I attack right back." So she takes a constructive criticism as a personal attack. And I - that's not the way, you know, I can fight for my life if it's intelligent fighting. If it's on that level of criticizing an outfit or a, you know, my singing - and I loved when Ivanka said, "Wait you're not even going to give her singing?" That was one of my favorite moments on the show.

I just can't go there and sleep at night, so I was fine letting her have - like just yell herself into oblivion.

DONALD TRUMP: They also have a very different fan base, don't forget. You know, Debbie's fans are a lot different than Teresa's fans. And I think Teresa's fans want to see her pull out a pistol almost, and I think that Debbie...


DONALD TRUMP: want Debbie to be nice. And I think that probably maybe influences Debbie a little bit, to be honest.

DEBBIE GIBSON: Yes, you know...

DONALD TRUMP: They're very different fan base.

DEBBIE GIBSON: the end of the day I'm an entertainer, I'm a musician, and I think my fans like me for that. It's not about - yes it doesn't need to get ugly. I was happy leaving on that note -- no pun intended -- and getting back to my music.

And yes Teresa's fans are like, "You got her. You told that Debbie Gibson," and I'm thinking, "If they think that's a victory, then let them all have that mentality, but it's not mine."

QUESTION: For all three of you, the Arsenio and Aubrey war seemed pretty epic for the season. But people have noticed that while they were on different teams, Arsenio had a lot of negative things to say about Aubrey.

So do you think his frustrations were pretty bit unwarranted considering that he already had negative things to say about her before they became teammates?

DONALD TRUMP: Well I can only say this: stay tuned, because what you saw the other night is nothing compared to what happens between them and a couple of others.

It is the toughest we've ever had on the Apprentice/Celebrity Apprentice. What happens in the next couple of weeks you won't even believe.


DONALD TRUMP: It's amazing television...What you saw the other night was tame by comparison to what takes place.

DEE SNIDER: Do you hear the things she says about people? She's horrible. She's evil.

QUESTION: Mr. Trump, you mentioned in the second Board Room that you didn't like some candidates as much as others. Who were you talking about?

DONALD TRUMP: Well I'm talking generally throughout the 12 seasons of the Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice. Over the years I've had some that I haven't liked, and I've had some that I like a lot.

And that doesn't influence my judgment too much. I usually go on, you know, results as opposed - I try to go 100% on results, but over the years I've had people - these two I like a lot, but I've had people - and I've said right to their face I don't like them. I've had people over the years that I didn't like. But I like a lot of people.

I liked Omarosa. I mean Omarosa - they just named her the other day - I saw she was named the number one television reality star, you know, in terms of - and I said, "That's a great decision." You know, the show went to the number one show on television, and she was great. I liked Omarosa.

But there were some people I didn't like over the course of years. And, you know, obviously I don't want to tell you who that is, but there were some people I haven't liked.

QUESTION: For all of you, I just want to get your perspective on this. Everyone sort of agreed that if Teresa had brought Aubrey back into the Board Room that she would've probably been the one to go. Why do you think she didn't bring her back?

DONALD TRUMP: I was surprised.

DEBBIE GIBSON: I think Teresa wanted me gone. I think there was some sort of rivalry there. I don't quite know why. From day one, Teresa did not trust me and I think that untrustworthy people are not trusting.

And, you know, she did not know how to separate business criticism from personal attacks. I meant what I said to her in one of the early episodes, that I really liked her when I met her, I liked her children. I thought she was a great mom, I thought she was a cool lady. That's still doesn't mean I thought she should've created the concept of the task that I was project manager for, and those are apples and oranges.

So I think Teresa just wanted me gone, and I wouldn't gang up on Dayana. And I think people were also on the women's team a little afraid of Aubrey. I thought if they brought her in, God forbid she did stay, Aubrey - I think everybody knows that Aubrey would've gone after them. So there were a lot of reasons. It was kind of complicated.

DEE SNIDER: I'm not afraid of Aubrey. I would just throw holy water on her.


DEBBIE GIBSON: I just think she's ignorant. To me - and ignorance is not a bad thing or a good thing. I just means what - she's like...



Dee SniderDEE SNIDER: Oh.

DEBBIE GIBSON: Just doesn't know. That's fine.


QUESTION: Dee, you said in the Board Room that you completed a task without even singing. How hard was it to step up and use that with Clay there?

DEE SNIDER: You know, I'm not a traditional singer. I'm a belter. So I noticed that Debbie walks around singing a lot, and Clay walks around singing. They're singers. I've got to like unleash the beast in order to - I've - I don't - often when I sing around the house, my wife goes, "Are you a singer? Because you sound terrible." So, you know...I need a moment to belt it. I didn't get it. So what can I tell you?

QUESTION: Debbie can you talk about why you think Teresa felt like you were setting her up?

DEBBIE GIBSON: I - God I think you'd have to ask her that. Well this is what blows my mind, you see. Lisa and I were in the war room most of the day putting the book together. Teresa never delegated anything to do with the visuals for the kiosk for where we were selling the book. She never delegated it. I - it wasn't my job to wonder who she delegated that to. I'm the one who actually thought about that at some point later in the day, and that translated to I was setting her up.

If I was setting her up I wouldn't have brought it up at all and we could've shown up and had an undecorated kiosk. So I don't really get that. I just think that she was insecure and, you know, I don't really get it.

You know, I - like I said earlier, I just think she wanted me gone. I think - I don't know, maybe she was threatened that at that point, because I think I was a strong player. Yes. I don't really know. I don't know what her deal is. You'll have to ask her. I'm sure you'll get to talk to the coming weeks.

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