‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ Season 8 Premiere Recap: Arnold Schwarzenegger Brings Big Changes to the Boardroom


It really is a brand-new world over there at The Celebrity Apprentice, and it’s not just because the last time it aired, it starred a future United States President. These days, it’s former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who is heading up the boardroom, and things are looking a lot different for the revamped Celebrity Apprentice.

With new (and very famous) advisers and a cast of contestants that range from eccentric to volatile, season 8 is shaping up to be a really promising piece of solid entertainment.


The Host and Advisers
Arnold Schwarzenegger: The former California Governor and Terminator has taken over Donald Trump’s position in the boardroom. He’s surrounded by a swanky bunch of celebrities who bring a lot of name recognition and a decent amount of business smarts.
Warren Buffett: While you aren’t gonna see Buffett on the red carpet, he is one of the most successful and recognized businessmen in the world. He’s like the greatest of all time when it comes to money, so I’ll give The Celebrity Apprentice props for upping their cred with this addition.
Steve Ballmer: Former CEO of Microsoft and Los Angeles Clippers owner.
Tyra Banks: She’s traded the models in for mid-tier celebrities and is now advising them on how to do business. She ought to know; she’s a supermodel, TV host, producer and CEO of the Tyra Banks Company and cosmetics brand TYRA.
Jessica Alba: Sure, she’s an actress, but she’s also an entrepreneur and head of The Honest Company.
Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger: Arnold’s cousin and confidant, he’s an entertainment attorney and in the Governator’s trusted inner circle.
The Celebrities
Laila Ali: Retired four-time boxing world champ and two-time hall of famer.
Brooke Burke-Charvet: Actress, host entrepreneur, fitness expert and CEO of Modern Mom.
Eric Dickerson: Football Hall of Fame running back for the Rams, Colts, Raiders and Falcons.
Boy George: Grammy award-winning singer and all-around cool-ass guy.
Matt Iseman: American Ninja Warrior host and licensed physician.
Carrie Keagan: Former host of VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live with Carrie Keagan.
Carson Kressley – Host of the award-winning Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and horse guy.
Lisa Leslie: Former Olympic gold medalist and WNBA champion and MBA recipient.
Jon Lovitz: Comedian and former Saturday Night Live star.
Vince Neil: Lead vocalist for the ’80s metal band Motley Crue.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi: Star of Jersey Shore and best-selling author.
Kyle Richards: Former child star and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star.
Chael Sonnen: Former UFC fighter and mixed martial artist.
Porsha Williams: Co-host of Dish Nation and Real Housewives of Atlanta star.
Carnie Wilson: One-third of the ’90s band Wilson Phillips.
Ricky Williams: Pro running back, Heisman trophy winner and sports analyst.
The Challenge
In the season 8 premiere, “In Here You Can Call Me Governor,” it’s men versus women in a Tyra Banks makeup challenge, which seems like a shameless plug for her line. Never one to shy away from promoting her own wares or pimping her own brand, Tyra visits both teams to talk about a Ty-over. I also resent the hell out of Tyra Banks for forcing me to type the phrase “Ty-over” more than once. It’s a little sexist to assume men can’t deal with makeup, I admit,  but the deck seems stacked against the men in this challenge.
The men, in a cheeky little twist, are going to provide the Ty-overs themselves. It’s clever but quite a risk. I don’t know how much experience MMA fighter Matt Iseman has in blending foundation and winged liner, but I do enjoy his technique of using “five fab fingers.” Vince Neil is all about the dab.
The men give a good presentation, mostly because they all practiced at home — which, unfortunately, has been cut from the premiere.
The ladies, on the other hand, obviously have more experience in makeup application. They’ve taken a different approach in allowing the models to do their own makeup, whether it be a “fresh face” or a “fierce face,” with “glambassadors” on call to consult. Damn you, Tyra and your unwieldy weave, for making me regurgitate your corniness!
The Winner 
So far, Arnold isn’t as aggressive as The Donald in the boardroom. He seems very diplomatic in his interviews, though he does scold Jon Lovitz for calling him “Arnold” instead of “Governor.” They don’t get a whole lot of finger wagging aimed at them, so it’s not really a stinging review.
Tyra, as is her way, admonishes the ladies for not meeting the quota for saying her name. She doesn’t like that the ladies had them do their own makeup; she wanted them to cannibalize their own fame to promote her makeup.
In turn, the men win the makeup challenge. That means Boy George, as project manager, wins $50,000 for his kids’ charity. I guess that’s what we get for reinforcing gender stereotypes and assuming that the men couldn’t win something that is traditionally a “woman’s” area.
The Loser
The women squirm when they have to face the Governator. Porsha, the project manager, breaks down into tears when pressed about who to fire. It’s not pretty. These women are gonna have to toughen up quick. Also, please stop talking about each other like high school girls at the lunch table. Saying someone is “fake” is not professional and makes you look silly.
Arnold gets it. He criticizes Carrie Keagan’s “I’ll do what I’m told” attitude. Listen up, American women. Take some initiative and stop waiting to be told what to do. She gets “terminated” and sent to “the chopper” because she just didn’t take the initiative. I’m liking Arnold’s boardroom more and more.
More (Shameless) Corporate Product Placement
In the second task of the premiere, Trident gum is for sale, and the celebs have to write a jingle and shoot a video for “all different smiles.” Carnie Wilson is a natural fit for project manager for the ladies, but the men’s choice of Jon Lovitz is questionable. Both teams flail a little, but if nothing else good comes from the men’s collaboration, we get Carson coining the phrase “Ritalin smoothie” in reference to the men’s lack of focus.
The ladies, in a power move, utilize Laila Ali in the ring. Somehow, they’ve linked gum and the sport of boxing, but it doesn’t matter much since all the footage they shoot for their video is sideways. If they would spend less time shouting about how they aren’t producers or videographers, and instead spend more time problem solving about how to capture the concept, they wouldn’t have so many problems.
The Winners
The men win again. The ladies didn’t really hit their marks in terms of the specifications of the task, and you can see the cracks starting to form in their team. Sheesh, ladies. Get it together. The worst part about it is that they thought they were gonna win both times. Once they are held accountable, Lisa jumps ship, admitting that she didn’t love the concept. It’s a little late now.
The Loser
Arnold gets frustrated with the women when they can’t readily offer up names about who should be fired. He gets hard with them because they act so wishy-washy. Carnie makes a decision and brings the wrong folks back. Not only does she get fired, but she makes us all suffer by forcing us to hear Arnold utter “Hasta la vista, baby.” I thought Tyra had the market on corniness, but, boy, was I wrong.
The Need-to-Know Drama
Here’s where we’ll keep a tally of the running drama over the course of the season, including the spats, the catfights and all the shade that gets thrown around the boardroom.
Porcha vs. Snooki: Porsha admonishes Snooki for not speaking up, referring to her as her sister as they sit backstage. Once they get in the boardroom, Porsha recommends to the Governator that Snooki get terminated. Shady.
Boy George vs. Vince: Vince likes to have a glass of wine while he works, and George is newly clean and sober. George is uncomfortable, not to mention pushy and opinionated, so he pecks and pecks at everything about the video.
What was the juiciest moment of The Celebrity Apprentice season 8 premiere? Do you like Arnold Schwarzenegger as the new host? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
The Celebrity Apprentice airs Mondays at 8/7c on NBC.
(Image courtesy of NBC)