I find myself drawn to the Celebrity Apprentice (TVB Pearl, Saturdays 8.30 pm) with a sense of grim foreboding. How many ways can it go horribly wrong?
Several, as it turns out.
In week one, it was nothing more than a contest to see which "celebrity" could get their friends to pay the most for a hot dog. Omarosa (who apparently qualifies as a celebrity because she was a contestant on the first series of The Apprentice - back in the days when it was quite good) was made project manager. She told the ladies' team that they shouldn't rely on their celebrity, but instead needed to impress Trump with their business acumen. Er, what? The ladies lost, and Trump didn't fire Omarosa for this idiotic strategy - but he did fire one of her team for not calling Hugh Hefner and asking him to pay $10,000 for a hot dog.
In week two it was a relief to discover that there was a real task. The men won easily.
Week three was one long advert for Kodak printers. Gene Simmons was moved across to the ladies' team as their project manager, and decided that there was no need to listen to the client's ideas. He is "Mr Outside the Box" he told us, and he sent just two of his team (Kely Galan and Nely Furato) to meet the Kodak executives. Rather than listening, they talked, and so they didn't get what it was that Kodak wanted them to say. Not that it really mattered, because Gene Simmons wasn't going to take any notice.
The men did all go to the meeting, they did listen, and they did understand what Kodak are selling (cheaper ink). They won.
Then we had an example of the biggest problem with this format. Gene Simmons was not going to do any of the things that a losing Apprentice contestant would normally do. He wouldn't accept that he was wrong, he wouldn't blame any of his team members who had made mistakes, he just smiled and said that everyone had done a great job.
Trump, of course, was puzzled. Who was this man? Why did he not want to play the game? Why did he not care whether he was fired? Er, maybe, Donald, it's because he's a multi-millionaire rock star, who is happy to be the star of the show for the first 2 or 3 weeks and then exit on his own terms.
Trump was reduced to spluttering "You're doing yourself a tremendous disservice" and trying to persuade him to bring back Nelly Furato because the Kodak executives didn't like her. Of course he refused. Idiot daughter Ivanka didn't get it either: "I don't understand Gene's decision, and it could be his downfall." Er, no, it couldn't. Well, except that he wants to be fired!!
In the UK they do a one-off celebrity version of The Apprentice. Only one celebrity gets fired, and of course it's all done in a light-hearted way. Watch and learn, American TV executives.