'Celebrity Apprentice': Donald Trump sings Richard Hatch, Gary Busey, Marlee Matlin's praises
Daughter Ivanka is expecting her first child with publisher husband Jared Kushner, so the baby won't be part of the Trump family dynasty yet in the latest round of "The Celebrity Apprentice." Already taped, the 11th edition of the "Apprentice" franchise starts its NBC telecasts Sunday, March 6 -- with contestants ranging from singers David Cassidy and Dionne Warwick to actors Gary Busey and Marlee Martlin, model Niki Taylor and controversial baseball veteran Jose Canseco.
"For every slot, we probably had five to six people who wanted to come on," Trump tells Zap2it. "You don't realize how many celebrities there are. The first time we did this, it was tougher, then we had great success with people like Joan Rivers and Piers Morgan. Now, everybody wants to be on the show."
Trump doesn't believe he changed his approach to accommodate deaf, Oscar-winning actress Matlin ( "Children of a Lesser God''). She was accompanied throughout production of "The Celebrity Apprentice" by her longtime interpreter, Jack Jason.
"I think people are going to learn a lot" from that situation, Trump reflects. "It was an amazing thing to watch, and she was absolutely fantastic. First of all, people are going to see how smart Marlee is; she's really smart, and she really stands out. Everybody stood out in their own way, though."
Indeed, Trump cites Canseco -- who admitted he used steroids while a professional ballplayer -- as "a good character" and terms Busey "a super-genius who's very, very different from anybody I've ever met."
Also a "Celebrity Apprentice" contender is Richard Hatch, the first winner of CBS' "Survivor," who originally met Trump's "Apprentice" producing partner Mark Burnett on that show. "He knows how to play the game incredibly well," Trump says of Hatch, who did prison time after being convicted of tax evasion. "He really understands it."