Geraldo Rivera: How I went from hero to villain on 'Celebrity Apprentice'

From Hero to Villain on Celebrity Apprentice. It happened with breathtaking suddenness. On Sunday night I was the hero who led Team Vortex to its premiere victory, personally raising about $115,000 of the winning $185,000 total raised for our blessed charities.

On Monday night, I was being portrayed as the wicked old evil bully, a new age Omaroso, who banished by Kevin Jonas back to New Jersey.

What happened?

When the ladies won with their sweet presentation, Kevin desperately sought to blame me for all the failings of the piece I was not permitted to produce.

— Geraldo Rivera

The first thing that happened was the decision by three of my rivals, Ian Ziering, Lorenzo Lamas and especially Kevin Jonas to single me out as the enemy. Even in that first installment, in which I led the team to accumulate more than twice the charitable donations raised by the ladies. Both Ian and Kevin were hypercritical of non-existent failings of my leadership. Ian wanted to know why I didn’t contribute more to the layout of our celebrity poster. Kevin complained that I wasn’t sufficiently involving in the baking of the pies that were the gimmick for fundraising, as if I could seriously help with baking pies when I have never baked anything in the three score and twelve years I’ve been on God’s green earth.

They clearly had formed a cabal to work to get me thrown off the show.

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Their conspiracy was revealed on the morning of the second task during which Kevin was project manager. The task was to produce a commercial to sell some computer devices. First, Kevin would not let me ride to the location with him or his co-conspirators. He literally told me “Geraldo you ride in the second car.”

It was like being part of a big, dysfunctional family where the black sheep has to ride in the second car with crazy Uncle Al.

With their backs turned to me, they met with the commercial sponsor. During that meeting I received momentous news that I had just won a major lawsuit against a major Hollywood talent agency that had unscrupulously sued me to collect money on a contract that had expired decades before.

I exulted when I got the news, but on the Apprentice episode my exultation appears as arrogantly boorish.

After the scripted our spot, when the cabal of Kevin, Ian and Lorenzo then put it together, they did so without including me at all in either the shooting of the spot or the editing.

I was then invited to screen their piece shortly before our deadline the next day. Watching it showed clearly that our team had failed to sufficiently identify the product we were trying to sell. There were no graphics on the piece until the very end, for instance.

When the ladies won with their sweet presentation, Kevin desperately sought to blame me for all the failings of the piece I was not permitted to produce.

In the second task which pro-football legend Terrell Owens captained, we were charged with selling a new pre-packaged food that is healthy and convenient.

I tried to help Terrell, working with him on a slogan that the company ultimately did not like, so I do bear some responsibility for that.

But what sunk us was our presentation in which the beloved and irreverent Gilbert Gottfried went off on an off-color comedy routine that included sex jokes that went over like a lead balloon.

We lost again and the board room came down to whether it was Gilbert’s jokes or my slogan that cost us the victory.

Ultimately, Donald Trump decided that Gilbert was tired and was less intensely interested in staying around than either Terrell or me. He will be missed.

And was I bruised, humbled but still standing.