The dashing cigar-business owner with the big, toothy grin has come to the end of his $250,000 year as Donald Trump's first Apprentice. And Bill Rancic, 33, wanted TV Guide to be the first to know what he plans to do next.
TV Guide: We hear you have big news for us.
Bill Rancic: After weeks of negotiations, I've signed on for one more year with Trump.
Rancic: I'll continue to work on the Trump International Hotel & Tower project in Chicago and I'll also be working on other projects, like Donald's new golf club development in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. TV Guide: So you'll spend one more year as a sponge.
Rancic: Without a doubt. For me, it's about learning. Watching Donald work has been great. TV Guide: So how did you talk your way into a second year with The Donald?
Rancic: It was tough. I mean I had to go in and negotiate with Mr. Trump. He's written books on negotiating. TV Guide: So how did you prepare?
Rancic: Well, I tried. I mean, obviously, I've got experience in negotiating. But clearly, it's no match for a guy like that. TV Guide: Don't give us general rah-rah talk. We want specifics.
Rancic: Our first round, he kept asking me for a [salary] number and I kept asking him to give me a number. The first rule of negotiation is, you always want them to throw the first number out, just to see where to go. And he refused to lay the first number on the table. So after the third go-round, I finally knew that I was going to have to come up with a number first, which you never want to do in negotiating. But [I had] to do it. TV Guide: Did you take a pay raise or a pay cut?
Rancic: It's safe to say I'll be doing better than I did last year. TV Guide: As the first big $250,000 Apprentice winner, how sweet was your average take-home pay?
Rancic: After taxes? Nice. About $6,000 every two weeks. But I don't know if I want to publish that. TV Guide: Hey, if we weren't so lazy, we'd do the math ourselves. ($250,000 divided by 26 weeks is... Ugh, math.) So you traveled a lot doing celebrity golf tournaments and fundraisers last year. How did you find time to do your job?
Rancic: Well, I wasn't [just] doing all those things. That's only 10 percent of the job — that's what makes the papers. TV Guide: And the other 90 percent?
Rancic: I spent a lot of time with Greg Cuneo, chairman of HRH Construction. Some days I'm out promoting condo sales. Other days, it's a lot of meetings. TV Guide: What about the fun stuff?
Rancic: Riding in Trump's private jet with him was pretty wild. It's got bedrooms, couches, high-end bathrooms and mahogany wood throughout. The seat belts are gold-plated. TV Guide: So has Trump rubbed off on you over the past year?
Rancic: Well, obviously, my confidence level has gone up significantly. And I've had to step up the wardrobe. But most importantly, he has reinforced the importance of relationships. He's so loyal to his people. And in return they are loyal to him. TV Guide: Since winning The Apprentice, have you been more popular with the ladies?
Rancic: I haven't been on a date in a couple of months. It's depressing. But I'm working on it. This is my year.