Omarosa by Tommy Baynard/NBC Photo
Well, that didn't take long. Three days into the new year and I already have a strong candidate for my 2008 worst-of-the-year list: Celebrity Apprentice, which we have to hope is the last gasp for this out-of-gas reality franchise.

Enlisting C-listers (which in most cases is a generous label) is the final desperate refuge for most shows in this oversaturated genre, but even by that standard, Celebrity Apprentice is pathetic. As is its attempt to turn the overexposed Omarosa into this season's ice-queen bitch villainess and the instantly tiresome Piers Morgan (the cut-rate Simon Cowell wannabe from summer time-waster America's Got Talent) into her "arrogant English bastard" nemesis (that phrase coined in a teaser by Vincent Pastore, who should have taken his early rubbing-out on The Sopranos as a sign to fade away gracefully).

At least Rob and Amber were nowhere to be seen. That's the best thing I can say about this new cycle of Trump-fueled pomposity, which appears to have permanently installed the inexpressive, charisma-challenged Trump children as Donald Trump's full-time lackeys. (Bringing along Mayor Bloomberg, who should have better things to do if he isn't running for national office, to sample hot dogs at their competing stands only served to inflate The Donald's Godzilla-sized ego.)

But what makes Celebrity Apprentice most unwatchable, at least in the first toxic impression it spewed in its season-opener Thursday night, is the notion that it will ask the players to cash in on their celebrity to win challenges. What kind of competition is that? And why, even in a strike-altered prime-time hell, would I care to watch Gene Simmons make phone calls to some anonymous "contact" to save his team's bacon by donating an enormous sum to his charity hot-dog stand?

It's saying something when a former playmate of the year (Tiffany Fallon, for those who don't keep up with such things) emerges with the most dignity, even as she's chastised for not badgering The Hef to pony up (over the phone; no way would he stoop to appear on this debacle) with cash for this task. "The nicest person is going home," clucked The Donald as he fired poor, bland Tiffany for being overwhelmed by the fire-breathing Omarosa, who is the soul-numbing embodiment of what happens when you believe you're a star for appearing on reality TV too frequently.

As Tiffany rode off, back to obscurity, I found myself riding an emotional roller-coaster. Not regarding this instantly forgettable show, but in my eager anticipation of new episodes of Grey's Anatomy and CSI next week (which will serve to crush this loser show), in my despair at knowing how few episodes of my favorite series are on tap for the new year until this blasted strike ends, and in anticipation of the premiere of Lost, a mere four weeks away.

I know I'd certainly rather spend my time on Mystery Island than the poisoned-by-ego Manhattan we get in Celebrity Apprentice.

For another take on Celebrity Apprentice , see Cheers & Jeers.