As the end of The Apprentice draws near, Donald Trump's cool-headed confidant, George Ross, is letting off some steam. But it isn't the boss man who's got him hot under the starched collar, it's the coquettish competitors whose get-rich-quick strategy involved short skirts and batting eyelashes.

"Yes, Donald does like women," his trusty sidekick confirms. "He likes beautiful women. He's surrounded himself with beautiful women all his life. He's got a modeling agency, he's got the Miss Universe pageant... okay.

"But," he hastens to add, "if you translate that from being surrounded by beautiful women to being susceptible to flirting, you're making a huge mistake. That's like making one plus one equal seven."

Thus, Ross isn't surprised that the femmes fatales who behaved in the boardroom as they might in the bedroom have been given the boot. "I think the women overplayed that part; that's bad thinking," he says. "A smart businessman will see right through it. You're working against your own interests."

While a female mover and shaker might argue that in the cutthroat corporate world, a gal must wield whatever weapons she has in her arsenal, Ross counters that, these days, such a strategy would backfire. "Years ago, you might say it's a man's world and women were working at a disadvantage," he allows. "But believe me, I do plenty of interviewing, and gender doesn't enter into it at all. What does matter is the skills [candidates] have and can exhibit. How they talk, how they act under pressure, how they present themselves as being potential good candidates...

"It's character," he concludes, "and the ability to work together."

For more on George — including whether Trump's elder statesman got paid for his Apprentice tour of duty — pick up the new issue of TV Guide magazine, on sale now!