While most of this one and only season of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart was fairly uneventful, Jim Bozzini was one contestant who could always be counted on to liven things up. Alas, though his over-the-top antics carried him to the final three, Martha and Co. eventually realized that the spontaneous, sometimes out-of-control, fella just didn't fit in with her corporate image — especially after MSLO honcho Susan Lyne had dinner with Jim and became privy to his plan to boost up the weaker players so that he could stay around longer. TVGuide.com grabbed Jim for a whirlwind interview to ask him if he really is "crazy" and if he has any regrets.
TVGuide.com: I want to know who the real Jim is!
Jim Bozzini: Is there a real Jim? That's the question!
TVGuide.com: So... is there a real Jim? Is what we saw on TV the real thing or a character?
Jim: It's a little bit of both. When I'm in a competition, a corporate competition like this, I take it very seriously. I'm a "win at all costs" kind of guy — I look for every angle to try to win, and I'm not afraid to utilize any and all options that are available. If it means having people in the competition dislike me or not understand me so much, so be it. I really don't care, as long as I win. Of course, it backfired, because I didn't win. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: You came close.
Jim: I came damn close, and I think I came closer than anybody would have guessed or given me credit for.
TVGuide.com: I thought they would have kicked you out way earlier.
Jim: Exactly. And I really think that's to my credit [and the result of] my hard work. There's a good old-fashioned work ethic in my blood — from my European roots, I guess — that wouldn't let me die, even though I was a character and even though I tried really hard to confuse and befuddle everyone. I maybe even frustrated them. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Maybe a little.
Jim: Maybe a little! It didn't detract from me being able to focus on the task at hand and always be able to give 100 percent. That, to me, is very important. Even on the QVC task, when I was spanking myself minutes before we went on the air, I'm doing it in a way to fluster the other person.
TVGuide.com: Some people were just so freaked out by you!
Jim: I think Dawna... I don't want to say "hate," but as a character on the show, I think she hated me. I watched her interacting with Ryan when they were on the same team for the Tide to Go challenge, and she was all smiles, and she just loathed me. But that's OK with me.
TVGuide.com: At least you made for interesting TV.
Jim: Right?!?! I thought so. I know that jumping up on the kitchen counter in my bare feet pounding my chest like a gorilla is probably going to make it on television.
TVGuide.com: You must have watched a bunch of these reality shows before.
Jim: I've always been a fan. I love Mark Burnett's stuff, I think he's like a genius. I studied the original Apprentice and the characters. There's a lot more strategy in it than people were utilizing, so I kind of made it my business to solve, if you will, the Apprentice game. Of course, I have the utmost respect for Martha Stewart — I was like, "What an opportunity to work for her!" — so add that into the mix. A lot of the people who get voted out early are very capable — Jeff is almost a genius — but that doesn't mean you're going to win. I also studied and realized that since you have to live with these people, there is an opportunity there to exploit living with them. There's a ton of alcohol, and as a bartender, I'm very capable of making drinks for people, which you may have seen me doing occasionally.
TVGuide.com: It's all about convenience!
Jim: Convenience, yes! I'm kind of like a camel when it comes to alcohol, in that I can perform pretty well the next day. If you noticed on the last task, Howie... not so much.
TVGuide.com: Or Ryan.
Jim: Ha-ha! It's like, "I'm not trying to get anyone drunk, but if I'm going to drink with you and we have to perform on the task, I'm going to be able to do my job." I can handle it. There's all these little things they didn't show. I was doing sit-ups in my room and doing Cape Fear-Robert De Niro lines to Ryan. He was cracking up, and it was driving the women crazy, like "Is this guy nuts?!" That never made it on the air, but it was all part of the strategy. Don't get me wrong, I'm a family man — I've got a beautiful 5-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old. Family is the most important thing to me.
TVGuide.com: Do you have all this energy when you're home with them, or are you a little calmer?
Jim: [Laughs] I'm calm.
TVGuide.com: Because I think I need whatever it is you're on.
Jim: I'm on life, man. I've always had energy. My 5-year-old daughter, she's just like me, I see myself in her. She's constantly drawing, constantly writing, and that's the same way I was. I don't think I've lost that. I think I have a little of ADHD or hyperactivity, which sometimes works to my benefit.
TVGuide.com: Are there times that it doesn't? Times when you wish you hadn't said certain things?
Jim: It doesn't happen too often, but at dinner with Susan Lyne, I felt like they sort of trapped me and finagled me into saying more than I should have. Maybe that was the alcohol, but there are definitely times where I go a little bit overboard and I think, "Uh-oh, what did I do?" But a long time ago I realized, "You know what, Jim? You're not boring anybody, and you are so hyper and so crazy that pretending you're not isn't going to work." I think it's best for me to just say it as it is, saying it as I feel it, and if people understand me and get me, that's really great. If they don't, then I probably shouldn't be wasting my time with them anyway. With Susan Lyne, when she said, "Well, he's just too erratic for our company," I said, "OK." It's better you know now and don't hire me, because I can't change. Do I regret some of the things I say? Probably. But I'm probably going to step in it anyway, so I might as well just step in the s---, excuse my French, right away.
TVGuide.com: Watching the show on TV, were you surprised by what anyone said about you?
Jim: I was bracing myself for the worst. For me, I'm so crazy that I love every second of it, like "Say more!" It's an old saying in my family that "every knock is a boost." If they're talking about you, whether it's good or bad, does it matter? Every single person who has been kicked off the show has been asked, "How was it dealing with Jim?" No one has asked me, "How was it dealing with Howie?" To be mentioned is actually kind of an honor.
TVGuide.com: What do you want to do next?
Jim: I would say I'd never ever turn down a good opportunity for some good entertainment on television, because I think probably 50 percent of my personality would love to do something like that. I love the idea of show business, but I also know it's cruel. It sounds so kiss-butt, but I admire the gamesmanship and I admire Mark Burnett's reality series. I would love to work with Mark Burnett again. I kind of feel like he's the one who got me on the show, and to host a television show of his.... I read the blogs, of course.
TVGuide.com: Some people don't want to read them.
Jim: I don't care! My wife's like, "It's so awful!" and I'm like, "No, no, no, I love it!" I'm such an egotist. Maybe I would even do a "celebrity" spot on Survivor if I were asked, because I love the game. On the flip side, the amazing thing is that because I got so far, I'm getting headhunted by these national and international nonprofit agencies, and real-estate companies are asking me to do their advertising and marketing for them. If I had been voted off earlier, maybe I would have been on The Surreal Life, but the interesting thing is that because of my work ethic, I stayed. Martha may not want someone who's crazy, but I'm sure there is more than a good number of corporations out there that were like, "We can harness that guy's energy and make money off him."