Piers Morgan becomes the first Celebrity Apprentice!
This season's finale gave viewers three great experiences in one. First, it showed highlights of the season. Second, it delivered blow-by-blow coverage of Piers and Trace as they completed the season's final task. And third, it took us live to the boardroom, where Mr. Trump named Piers the winner. What a blockbuster show!
Prerecorded footage showed Piers and Trace as they battled to win this season's final task - a charity auction. It was interesting to see how both men made good on the strategies that they developed for winning the task. Trace held the line against the Backstreet Boys' unreasonable requests and got them to present an excellent stage show. And Piers' strategy work beautifully too. His high-end contacts spent tremendous sums of money at the auction. Howard Lutnick, CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, paid $200,000 for two of the prizes. And Simon Cowell was happy to bid $100,000 to go shopping with Ivanka Trump.
When the auction earnings were totaled, Piers had brought in $376,000, to Trace's $64,000; Trace had sold $38,000 worth of tickets to the event, compared to $12,000 for Piers. Yet the competition was about more than money. When the two men got to the boardroom firing (held live onstage this week), Mr. Trump also explored how well they had handled all the aspects of the charity event. Mr. Trump then brought the season's other celebrity contestants onto the stage and polled them about whether Piers or Trace should win.
Finally, both contestants made compelling appeals to Mr. Trump about their charities. Trace explained the anguish that a food allergy had caused his family, and spoke compellingly about the importance of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. And to drive home the importance of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Piers invited wounded veterans onto the stage. Their appearance brought tears to the eyes of many members of the live audience.
With only a minute remaining in the show, Mr. Trump showered Trace with well-deserved praise for being such a wonderful human being. But Piers' stellar performance in every task of the season won the day - and Mr. Trump named him Celebrity Apprentice.
This season, Celebrity Apprentice raised more than $1 million for the contestants' charities - a sum that Mr. Trump augmented with an additional $250,000 of his own.
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This season finale proved that doing business and doing good really can go hand in hand. Let's take a closer look.
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When Trace's wife and two adorable daughters showed up only minutes before the start of the charity event, he was overcome with tears. Then he calmed down and refocused on getting the Backstreet Boys to present a great show.
Remember why you are building your success. It's not for greed or dollars. It's an expression of care for the people you love.
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When Piers got his high-flying contacts to open their wallets and hearts again this week, he reminded us that you don't have to build your success entirely on your own. The people who respect you will be glad to lend you support.
Ask people for help. And do it with your head held high. They will feel good to help you - and you'll build your success at the same time.
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When Piers invited a group of injured veterans onto the stage, he brought the audience to its feet.
Fight for causes that are bigger than you are. If you serve others as unswervingly as Piers did this season, you will enjoy personal success too.
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And a final thought about this season...
When Mr. Trump created Celebrity Apprentice, he decided that the all the prize money would go to charities. Tito's charity supported children, Stephen's supported breast cancer - and the list goes on and on. It was an entertaining season - but the fact that it helped so many people made it stand head and shoulders higher than most any other program on the airwaves.
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We look forward to future seasons of Celebrity Apprentice. See you there!
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