Bret Michaels has performed in front of thousands of screaming fans, night after night, for more than twenty years, and proudly put his crazy love life on national television. But the Poison lead singer says nothing has been more nerve-wracking than Donald Trump's boardroom.
"I never sweated as much as I do in that boardroom," Michaels said in a conference call with reporters about the new season of Celebrity Apprentice. Michaels is just one of 14 famous faces who will sweat it out in Trump Towers for the series' third season (premiering Sunday at 9/8c on NBC).
This year's contestants — all playing for their favorite charity — include celebrities from every corner of pop culture, from music manager and talent judge Sharon Osborne to Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson. "We wanted some athletes, we wanted some actors, actresses, we have models, we have wrestlers," said Trump, the show's host and executive producer. "It's been a very interesting process."
Season 3's cast also includes former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who stood trial at the same time he was battling it out in the boardroom. "The government wasn't thrilled with that whole thing," Trump said. "He really displayed great courage in doing the show and as far as a player is concerned, [he] worked very hard. I mean, you wouldn't know this guy was a governor or an ex-governor."
Did Trump hold any preconceived notions about the ex-governor or his fellow players? "A lot of times you're really disappointed, and a lot of times somebody that is not really - that you don't think of so highly turns out to be a star," Trump said. "You don't know what happens, and, you know, with pressure and the heat of battle, you just don't know what happens."
Michaels said his follow contestants and his drive to raise money for the American Diabetes Association helped motivate him. "They are absolutely strong personalities. I know that they're extremely smart. I know that they're strong physically, mentally. So when I go in there, that makes me up my game," Michaels said. "And I feel the reason I've survived 20 years in the music business is I just don't back down to a challenge, and especially when it's that close to my heart."
Trump said he doesn't plan to change much from Season 2, which Joan Rivers won. "Frankly, when you have a success, you don't like to do too many changes. And what we do have is there has been a different tone," Trump said. "But the cast has been very interesting... These people hate each other, but it's also funny; there's something funny about it that I didn't have in the first two so I think that might be the biggest differentiation in terms of the three casts."
Unfortunately for Michaels, the other noticeable difference is more of the boardroom. "The favorite part of the show by far is the boardroom," Trump said. "And the boardroom has gotten longer over the years because of that."
Despite his aversion to the boardroom, Michaels praises his time on Celebrity Apprentice. "There were some great moments and some extremely ugly moments. It came out of the box extremely strong," he said. "I can't give it away but I can tell you it was much harder and a lot more work than I ever imagined and yet one of the best experiences I've ever had."