Last week on NBC's The Apprentice, the newly reshuffled Excel team swung for the fences in a sporting-goods task but instead whiff-whiff-whiff-whiffed in short measure, managing to actually lose money for the sponsor retailer. Donald Trump was not happy, so in a boardroom first, he fired a foursome: project manager Josh Shaw, former beauty queen Jennifer Murphy, Mark Lamkin and James Dillon. TVGuide.com spoke with the two bigger drama magnets, Josh and Jennifer, about choking at the plate.
TVGuide.com: On a scale of 1 to 10, how shocked were you to see Trump fire all four of you?
Josh: I'd put it at a 12. [Laughs] It was definitely a shock. With that magnitude of a loss, we expected something drastic to occur, but I don't think anyone expected a foursome to be fired. I was like, "What the heck just happened here?!"
Jennifer: I was off the charts, over a 10. I thought it was between me and Josh. At first I was the one getting most of the heat, but then I think I surprised everyone and really defended myself and made some good points. But you could tell Mr. Trump was pretty livid, and I don't think any amount of arguing was going to change what he was about to do.
TVGuide.com: Who of the four of you took it the hardest?
Josh: I think Jen, because she is a salesperson in real life and the way they portrayed this was as a loss due to sales, rather than the sport we picked. At the end of the day, I think everybody is of the highest caliber. Unfortunately, in the boardroom you sometimes get portrayed in a light that is not the most favorable.
Jennifer: When we got into the elevator, I was really upset and just kinda broke down. I was more upset about them being fired, surprisingly, than I was for myself, because I started to prepare for it as soon as I saw what was happening in the boardroom. When he fired the guys as well, it made me so mad, so I shed some tears in the elevator. I said, "I can't believe they fired all of us," and to Josh, "I know some harsh things were said in there but I really respect you as a project manager, I hope you don't take it personally." I got my emotions out in the elevator — I'm like that, I get it off my chest and I'm fine.
TVGuide.com: If you could send one of the four of you — aside from yourself — back to the suite, who would it be?
Jennifer: Oh, goodness. I would say Mark. I respect all three of the guys — they were all strong players — but James had a lot to do with our team choosing baseball and Josh [as project manager] allowed that choice to be made and for the concept to be what it was. Mark really...
TVGuide.com: Someone had to man the pitching machine!
Jennifer: He had to do that, yeah. He wasn't going to be able to leave it and go sell for a little while. That was his role, he accepted it and he did an amazing job with it. I felt really bad when he got fired because he didn't even see it coming. He had no way to defend himself.
Josh: Mark, hands down. He's one of the smartest, most high-integrity, high-honor and intuitive entrepreneurs I've met. Among the 18 of us, I put him at the top.
TVGuide.com: Josh, do you have any second thoughts about sending Clay, Adam and/or Markus to the other team?
Josh: No. I do think Markus is actually a good person, even though he can't control his mouth — he has no muzzle or filter on it — and Adam happens to be a very bright guy. I'd turn Clay over to the other team all day long — I wouldn't change that decision. At the end of the day, it came down to the sport that was chosen, and unfortunately, we picked the wrong one.
TVGuide.com: Jen, where did the "Zin" in Zathura come from?
Jennifer: [Laughs] Um, I think it came from my blonde hair. When I was getting ready to be on the show, they asked what you're allergic to, and I'm allergic to the medication Zithromax, so I think that's where I got the "Zith-" instead of the "Zath-."... I don't know, it just somehow came out that way. I had a sneaking suspicion I was saying it wrong when I saw Carolyn and Bill [Rancic] start to giggle. And then I looked up at the float the very final time I said "Zinthura" and saw Zathura, and I was like, "Oh, my."
TVGuide.com: Maybe you should have spent more time practicing instead of shopping for last-minute bells and whistles?
Jennifer: It's funny how things get edited. I needed to talk to Randall and Marshawn — who also gave some of the presentation, even though you didn't see it — anyway, so instead of sitting there doing it at the location, I said, "Let's go and get some smoke-makers, lighting, red carpet...."
TVGuide.com: Josh, you and your wife are expecting your first child in January. Was this baby conceived before you did the show, after or during some sort of "Apprentice conjugal visit"?
Josh: Funny you should ask, because Mr. Trump challenged me on that and said, "How did your wife get pregnant while you're here?" — alluding to the fact that it might be the mailman or something. [Laughs] No, we conceived right before the show and she's now scheduled to give birth a little sooner than we thought, the end of December. We're excited.
TVGuide.com: Why did no one speak during the farewell cab confessional?
Josh: In the very beginning I think we were all still fairly shell-shocked, but then within minutes we just started opening up and just letting it loose. It was pretty funny.
Jennifer: If you watch the clip from the cab where we're all scrunched into the backseat, you see me crack a grin. I'm trying not to laugh; I'm holding it back. I went from being devastated to just fine.
TVGuide.com: I was wondering if they were going to make all four of you sit in back. In reality, the cabbie would have had one of you go up front.
Josh: Yeah, you would have thought that maybe they'd splurge for two cabs. [Laughs] This is The Apprentice after all.
TVGuide.com: What's next for each of you?
Josh: I own a company called GoSMILE — we are the No. 1 tooth-whitening company in the world, and we sell in high-end retailers such as Saks and Sephora and Nordstrom. If you want some product, I'd be happy to send you some.
TVGuide.com: I'm actually pretty happy with my Crest Whitestrips.
Jennifer: I can now totally look back and laugh and see that this was one small piece of an incredible journey that's going to open up so many doors for me. Hopefully, I'll be doing some fun things. I did Miss USA a couple of years ago and now, having been on The Apprentice, I have the desire to pursue opportunities in the entertainment industry. I already have several networks and shows pursuing me, offering me positions and hosting jobs.... There's a lot in store!
TVGuide.com: Hmm. Say for me, "There are no zebras in the zoo in Zathura."
Jennifer: "There are no zebras in the zoo in Zathura!" See, I'm good!