via press release:
NEW YORK, NY – May 22, 2011 – Concluding a controversial and eventful fourth season of NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” (Sunday, 9-11 p.m. ET) in tonight’s live season finale from New York City, star Donald J. Trump named Country Music Star John Rich as the next Celebrity Apprentice, over runner-up Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin.
In addition to the celebrated boardroom showdown, the finale revealed that Rich’s designated charity will receive the $250,000 prize and will be added to the show’s total charity earnings for the season of $3,120,852 – the largest amount ever raised by any TV series. Rich raised $1,261,900 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, while Matlin amassed $1,050,000 for the Starkey Hearing Foundation.
“John Rich clearly demonstrated that he has what it takes to be a winner,” said Trump. “As the new Celebrity Apprentice, he represents all the qualities necessary to follow through and come out with very significant winnings for his charity. John was focused, motivated, smart and a good team player. We all know he’s talented too. He proved he could maneuver his way into situations that were remarkably productive—which was a benefit for everyone. I congratulate him on his win—John’s a star all the way.”
“Today has been an unbelievable day!” said Rich. “I got Trump to put on a Stetson hat on national television and now I get to drive down to Memphis with a $250,000 check for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This entire experience has been for the kids and I’m so excited to raise money for this cause and help save lives. I want to congratulate Marlee Matlin on her outstanding performance on the show and the monies she raised for her charity. It’s a great day for all of us.”
In the episode before the finale, Trump called on previous “Celebrity Apprentice” winners Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers and Bret Michaels to interview the remaining celebrities and help him choose Rich and Matlin as the finalists. Trump then issued the last — and most challenging task. Each finalist had to produce a launch campaign for 7UP Retro, design a new can, produce a 30-second commercial and present the entire campaign at a gala event.
As the work continued in the finale, Rich and Matlin rushed to prepare for their 7UP Retro events leading up to the ultimate boardroom face-off. The two finalists then took the stage and Trump crowned his newest “Celebrity Apprentice.”
This year’s sponsors included 7UP, OnStar, Australian Gold, Camping World, ACN, Omaha Steaks and Farouk Hair Systems.
When the series began on March 6, the women included Matlin, Hope Dworaczyk, La Toya Jackson, Star Jones, NeNe Leakes, Lisa Rinna, Niki Taylor and Dionne Warwick.
The men included Rich, Gary Busey, Jose Canseco, David Cassidy, Richard Hatch, Lil Jon, Meat Loaf and Mark McGrath.
Trump’s advisers include Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump, as well as longtime Trump Organization employee George Ross.
“The Celebrity Apprentice” is produced by Mark Burnett in association with Trump Productions LLC. Mark Burnett, Donald Trump, Eden Gaha and Page Feldman are executive producers. Nancy Gunn is the co-executive producer.
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