This whole discussion is pretty much a spoiler if you haven't watched the finale - forewarned is forearmed...
Last night, Donald Trump selected Joan Rivers as the second celebrity apprentice. I have spent a lot of time thinking about that. I was rooting for Joan from early on (she and Jesse were my people), but I just didn't see how she was going to take down Annie Duke in the finals.
Essentially, The Celebrity Apprentice is about making money for charity. Thus, it seems to me – as it did to Annie Duke – that the most important criteria is the ability to raise cash. Trump certainly fired at least one candidate this season based on their money-raising ability, so he certainly believed cash had something to do with it.
In the final task, Annie Duke raised over $465,000. That's a sizable chunk of change, and more than triple Joan's haul of about $150,000. There were, however, five different criteria on the final task, and Joan managed to win three of the five. So, there was a slight edge to Joan there, but the money difference was staggering, completely staggering.
Even so, Trump went with Joan as his choice, and while I'm pleased by it, I'm troubled too. What led to that decision? How could it have been possible?
Someone pointed out to me that one of the vice chairs of Joan's charity, God's Love We Deliver, is an individual named Blaine Trump. Blaine is married to Donald's younger brother. The suggestion when I heard that was that Trump was biased in the selection of Joan in order to promote a family-affiliated charity.
However, I'm in no way suggesting that's the case. Both charities (Annie's was Refugee International) got a lot of money from the show and a lot of good publicity. I just don't think it was necessary to throw a little bit more money their way by having Joan win. No, I think instead, Joan won because she was a great motivator, a decent human being, and someone who didn't alienate all their co-workers.