Donald Trump, <EM>The Apprentice</EM> Donald Trump, The Apprentice

Oftentimes at this point in The Apprentice's umpteen-week "job interview" this round's season-ender unspools on May 29 and June 5 the two candidates managing their final tasks are faced with most unexpected hurdles. Think back to Season 1, when Kwame Jackson was nearly waylaid by MIA concert performer Jessica Simpson (a near-flake-out that actually makes all the more sense now that we know so much more about the pop tart). Or look as recently as last season's finale, when Joe Piscopo  yes, Joe Piscopo  was "forced" to bail as the host of Rebecca Jarvis' charity event, all because of some vague "union" rule.

Such final-task "surprises" obviously stir up the drama to a point that it gets a person thinking: Is the omniscient Donald Trump amping up the "reality" with some behind-the-scenes sleight of hand? Did Jessica really get "lost"? Could it have been the Donald's well-manicured hand that actually pulled the power plug on Jennifer Massey's Season 2 Xbox display? Was Season 3's Tana Goertz really unable to get her hands on an American flag? Was Piscopo truly ineligible to pimp his D-list self in a plum prime-time TV appearance? took our theory to Trump, apparently unafraid that he would use his vast resources to make us, you know, "disappear." His response to the suggestion that someone (OK, he himself) has been "manufacturing final-task conflicts?" "No," he says. "The answer is that this is simply the way things have happened."

Trump says he was as stymied as anyone by Piscopo's abrupt exit as host of Rebecca's comedy event. "Who would have thought that Joe Piscopo, who was desperate to be on the show, would decide not to because he didn't want to violate some union thing that I am sure he could have worked out very easily," says the corporate titan. "I was very surprised and disappointed by him."

Then touching upon the Season 1 finale's famous blonde moment, Trump says it "was sort of a 'miracle' that happened. I mean, it was very interesting!"

Trump reiterates that nothing about The Apprentice is or ever has been planned. "I've never had a script, I've never had a written word," he insists. "In fact, [daughter] Ivanka was surprised after she did a few shows [subbing for Carolyn] to realize there is absolutely no scripting."

Ivanka herself tells she was "taken aback" by the freewheeling nature of the show. "But that's what makes it a great thing to watch," she says. "It wouldn't come across as genuine or as effective if he was reading something."

Back to our original hypothesis, Trump says, "Just like we don't script, we also don't [create obstacles for] events just for the fun of it. It's just the way it happens."

That seemingly also rules out the possibility that he literally played God by making it rain on Season 4 champ Randal Pinkett's charity softball game. "No, I didn't," says the Donald. "I wish I had that power!"