I'm trying to figure this one out?? Who will win? Any thoughts?? http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/story/182730p-158575c.html
The Trump ace is ...
By DREW MACKENZIE
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
'The Apprentice' wanna-bes are down to two.
Only two are still standing in the brutal battle of the Trump boardroom.
After 13 weeks, it's the cigar salesman Bill Rancic versus the Harvard man Kwame Jackson.
And on Thursday night, they go head-to-head in the live, two-hour final episode of the hit reality show "The Apprentice."
One will be dismissed with a "You're fired!" from Donald Trump.
The other will be laughing all the way to bank after The Donald points at him and says:
The winner and chief apprentice receives a $250,000-a-year leadership position in Trump's empire for at least 12 months.
The odds favor Kwame Jackson to be the last man left in the board-room — simply because at the end of the day Trump just loves the way"Harvard-educated" rolls off his tongue.
But Trump says he hasn't ruled out taking on the loser, too — at a lower salary, of course.
Survivors Bill and Kwame reached the finals after they impressed Trump's executives last week during "job interviews."
Pink slips went to ex-lovebirds Nick Warnock and Amy Henry, former favorites who were clearly in over their heads.
The two finalists bring different skills and experiences to the table.
Soft-spoken Kwame, 29, who lives in Manhattan, would be a dream candidate for any Fortune 500 company — let alone The Trump Organization.
He holds a degree from the University of North Carolina and an MBA from Harvard, and he's worked in sales and marketing for Procter & Gamble.
Last fall, he had a coveted job on Wall Street as an investment manager for financial firm Goldman Sachs. But he gave it up for a shot at TV stardom and a chance to work for Trump.
During one show, the real-estate tycoon wondered whether Jackson was making a smart career move by giving up such a prestigious position.
The reply came confidently:
"There are only certain opportunities that come along in your life to be extraordinary, and this is one of them," Jackson said.
The show's producer Mark Burnett, the crafty "Survivor" creator who knows a thing or two about making money, admires Kwame,who deliberately flies under the radar. "His strengths are certainly his education and his desire, although he's a little bit in the shadows," says Burnett.
Trump loves to name-drop, especially his own, and he'd like nothing more than to boast that his new employee has the Harvard/Goldman Sachs pedigree.
Smooth-talking Bill Rancic, 32, who lives in Chicago, has a degree from that city's Loyola University and is an over-achiever with a type-A personality.
After contestant Troy McCain got the boot two weeks ago, partially because he did not have a college degree, Rancic told Trump that he could have gone on to any top college for his master's degree (meaning he's every bit Kwame's equal or better).
In fact, he may even be taking a pay cut if he accepts the $250,000 "Apprentice" job.
After paying his way through college with a boat wash-and-wax business, Rancic began making his fortune at 24 by starting CigarsAroundTheWorld.com, selling high-end cigars, including the $12 hand-made Mike Ditka cigar.
Rancic became a millionaire, then sold the company to Synergy Brands last summer for a figure that made Trump's eyes pop.
As part of the deal, he now heads a sales force for the company. It was his idea to audition for "The Apprentice" as a promotion for the firm.
Workaholic Rancic, who like Jackson is single, also finds the time to buy old buildings and convert them into condominiums — a construction enterprise sure to appeal to Trump the builder.
Burnett says Rancic is "super-bright, great ideas, but also stands in the shadows too much."
Both finalists dodged early bad decisions to survive in the boardroom.
Kwame led the all-male team that lost the lemonade sales challenge. He set up the stand next to the odoriferous Fulton Fish Market, and sales stunk. "Some of his locational choices were terrible," said Trump.
In his second leadership role, his art gallery team earned just $869 to the rival team's $13,600. Yet, Trump found other targets each week.
Rancic manipulated Sam Solovey into taking responsibility for a failed merchandise-buying project. He scored points by attracting high rollers and VIPs to the casino Trump Taj Mahal.
Still, Trump said, "Some of his ideas can be flawed."
Whoever wins, there'll be no loser — a horde of big-name companies will surely be lining up for his services.
Achievements: Harvard MBA, investment banker
Admires: His mother, who died of cancer when he was 15
Cartoon character most like him: Wolverine of the X-Men
Final challenge: Managing Jessica Simpson concert at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City
What Trump says: "Wonderful guy, wonderful skills. Everybody loves Kwame."
Achievement: Internet entrepreneur
Admires: His father, a school superintendent
Cartoon character most like him: The Road Runner
Final challenge: Managing the Chrysler-Trump Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club
What Trump says: "He's a good leader and has great people skills."
Originally published on April 12, 2004
Trump: I Haven't Decided 'Apprentice' Winner Yet
(Monday, April 12 11:33 AM)
By Rick Porter http://tv.zap2it.com/tveditorial/tve_main/1,1002,271
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - Once "The Apprentice" got down to its final two candidates, Donald Trump wanted to see his potential future employees face some real stress.
He got his wish, thanks to executive producer Mark Burnett.
"Donald wants to see them in a CEO-type role, not as a member of a team, but as a real boss," Burnett says. "The final tasks are huge, and the pressure on these people -- even the final two start to crack."
Following the elimination of sort-of lovebirds Amy Henry and Nick Warnock in the penultimate episode, Harvard MBA Kwame Jackson and cigar entrepreneur Bill Rancic were left to take on jobs that directly impact aspects of Trump's business. Rancic was put in charge of a golf tournament bearing Trump's name, while Jackson had to oversee a Jessica Simpson concert at Trump's Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City.
How they do will help determine the winner in Thursday's (April 15) live, two-hour finale. Instead of uttering the show's catchphrase "You're fired," Trump will tell either Jackson or Rancic "You're hired."
As of last week, when Trump and Burnett talked to reporters about the show, Trump hadn't decided whether he would choose Jackson or Rancic to run one of his divisions, at an annual salary of $250,000. He likes both men.
"Kwame and Bill seem similar, but they're very different," Trump says. "Bill's actually a much more aggressive person than he looks on television. Kwame, everyone loves this guy. He's a Harvard MBA, he left Goldman Sachs for this opportunity -- not a lot of people would be leaving Goldman Sachs, literally, just for this opportunity."
Trump also hasn't decided which part of his empire he'll have the winner run. "I think certain people would be better at one thing than another," he says. "So to a certain extent it depends on who the winner is going to be."
The billionaire will also have to break the news to an employee that he or she is being pushed aside to let a reality-show contestant run the company for a year.
"Ay yi yi -- why did you have to ask me that question?" Trump says. "I've already prepared a number of my divisions. Depending on the job we're doing -- in one case in particular it's a very big situation -- we're gonna be watching this new president very closely. This is not gonna be a man who's gonna be running off half-cocked. But these people have worked for me a long time, they're total professionals, and they understand."
NBC has already ordered two more cycles of "The Apprentice," and Trump will part of them. Beyond that, however, he's noncommittal.
"At some point, I have to go on with my life," Trump says. "I'm not going to be on the show forever. Hopefully someone will replace me who's going to carry the show on to -- I can't say great heights, but to the same heights or even slightly less, and that would be satisfactory."