There's no denying that Donald Trump is the hottest thing on television these days.
It wasn't so just a few months ago. While covering Playboy's 50th anniversary party last November, I let Trump walk right on by my red carpet camera crew without asking for even one soundbite. The Donald was old news back then.
Today however, I'd be tripping over Billy Bush to get something on camera from the new "don of television." To use a common Trumpism, "The Apprentice" is HUGE.
But it still has its fill of Grrrs...
Like The Editing ... Grrr!
In the episode where Bill and Kwame get haircuts, they are seen at dinner — supposedly on the same night — with longer hair. And in the last episode, Bill and Kwame were sipping champagne on the roof of a New York City building — one shot had Bill holding his glass in his left hand and in the next cut he's got it in his right. Also last week there was a clear audio edit when Kwame mentioned that in the real world he would never hire Omarosa. The word Omarosa was noticeably louder than the rest of the words in the sentence — the audio dissolve was lacking at best, and it proves how the show's producers can edit it to look and sound any way they want it to.
Some reality television. But I'm nit-picking. We all know reality TV is a misnomer. The show is still HUGE and I'm a big fan. Hooked I tell ya! Hooked.
Show Business or Show Friends?
I interviewed two of the "apprentices," Amy Henry and Nick Warnock, in my office Monday afternoon. They're both much taller than one would think (I'm just short), and despite the news that they are no longer an item, they certainly act like a married couple — finishing each other's thoughts, etc.
Nick and Amy Grrrs? Reporters who ask them if they're still dating.
"We hardly had time to even talk to each other," says Amy.
Amy also says she regrets doing the photoshoot for FHM magazine but doesn't think it will hurt her career. "The shoot itself was fun but answering to the why, why, why all the time makes me regret my decision," she said. "It's also taken some years off of my father's life, I think," she added. As for the offer from Playboy, Amy said that it wasn't nearly as good as what's been reported — $250k per woman.. "Playboy had a cover budget of $360K, which meant that if everybody was on the cover, we'd all be splitting that money," she said.
Nick has a master post "The Apprentice" plan. "I am launching an audio cd at my Web site. After that I will pursue an on-camera career in entertainment or television news, and I'll be governor of California by age 38," he said. "And sometime within the next 30 years I'll be in the White House," he added. I asked if he was talking about the White House Tour or of an elected office. "President. I'm apparently no good as a team player so I need to be in charge," he said.
As for Amy, right now she says she's ready for a vacation, but after she gets back to business she'll maybe write a book or do some consulting.
I'm happy to report that these two overnight stars are down to earth and very ingratiating, likable people. Would they do the show again? "I'd pay to do the show again," Nick said. "I'd do it again tomorrow," says Amy. And both of them said they'd work for the Trump organization if they were reporting to The Donald himself. Like many reality television stars these days, I'm sure the agents and producers will be banging down the doors to get to these two. Good luck guys.
One more item on "The Apprentice." Gold dealer Michael Toback, who was seen caving in to the pretty women of Protege when they were tasked to buy a gold bar at a lower than market price, has become the star of New York City's West 47th street. Toback's been a fixture of the diamond district for over 20 years, working for his father at Myron Toback. It was nice to see the new dad get his fifteen minutes of fame, and hopefully he'll get a chance for some more opportunities like the rest of them (ad exec Donny Deutsche, who also appeared on the show, appears regularly on CNBC). Hey Mike, I hear Playboy has an offer you can't refuse.
The International Auto Show
Took baby Maxine and the Mrs. to see the new cars at NYC's Jacob Javits Center over the weekend. It was more like an Oblivion convention rather than an auto show. Families setting up camp in minivans, kids climbing all over sports cars and spokesmodels repeatedly asking people not to sit on the moving platforms. And the Javits center is in dire need of more elevators. You never really notice that only one elevator is working in a building until you own a baby carriage. There were dozens of families waiting for the elevator, and dozens more braving the steps with their babies in tow.
As far as the new cars go, the ones we were able to see through the hordes of people were pretty cool and worth seeing, but I don't recommend anybody going on a weekend.
Pet Causes ... Grrr!
Much has been made of Bravo's (search) "Inside The Actor's Studio" and its upcoming interview with Jennifer Lopez. Apparently several Latin advocacy groups are upset because out of all the great Latin actresses out there, they don't think J-Lo is worthy of being the first Latin actress on such a prestigious interview show.
Please! It's a fluff show. Leave it to the advocacy groups to cause controversy where there is none. Am I the only one sick and tired of the little pet causes that are anachronistic, to say the least? Host James Lipton will do his research, he'll flatter J-Lo with his grand knowledge of her work, and his audience will applaud her every answer. And oh by the way, it will rate higher than an interview with Chita Rivera, or any other so-called "important" Latina actress.
And how about PETA? The People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals have a good cause, but throwing paint on fur coats, as members are wont to do from time to time, does more harm than good. Insurance companies get stuck paying for replacement furs — driving up premiums for everybody — and more animals are killed in the coat replacement process. Grrr!
Elevator Oblivions ... Grrr!
It doesn't come any faster if you push the button multiple times. If you hold the "door close" button while ascending or descending, it will still stop on the floors it was called to. People cannot get off the elevator if you're crowding the doorway, waiting to get on. If the light is already lit, someone already pushed the button. In most cases, the "door open" and "door close" buttons are deactivated unless a fire warden turns the key on the panel. Pressing them multiple times will not make your trip two floors up any faster.
Banks ... Grrr!
In these technologically advanced days, when one can bank or buy and sell stocks online, why does it still take several days for a check to clear after it is deposited?
Grrrs Gone Wild!
Writing on bathroom walls. Who are these morons who feel compelled to write poems on the tiles?
Why does deodorant get all over the outside of t-shirts. Don't these hygiene companies test their products before subjecting our clothes to white stains?
How about broadsheet newspapers, like The New York Times or USA Today, (search) offering tabloid-style versions of their papers for commuters to read on buses and trains? That commuter fold is waaay over my head.
Why do people adopt the foreign or regional accent of the person with whom they are speaking? Please stop. Nothing worse than hearing that New Yawker start to sound just like the salesman from Texas or Britain.
Why are there extra surcharges on parking or moving violation tickets? Just set the fines higher. I've always viewed parking tickets and a lot of moving violations as legal extortion anyway, so they might as well go for it.
Why do people at concerts or ball games sit in empty seats that don't coincide with the ticket they purchased? There's nothing worse than going for a brew or to the restroom and returning to some Oblivion sitting in your seat. Happens all the time. These people should be brought out to the field and flogged.
Why do suburban moms need Hummer H2's? Just because Hummer made them a little cheaper so you wouldn't have to be a high-paid movie star or athlete to afford one, doesn't mean you need one.
And finally, next time somebody tells you to "read a book" when you're talking about movies or television, ask them to name the last book they read. After they fumble for a few minutes before coming up with "The Catcher In The Rye," (search) just tell them to mind their own business.
Now For Your Grrrs
Stan Dek Grrrs: Grrr to all those who make fun of hearing aids. I'm sick of you. Why is hearing loss funny to everyone but those who suffer from it? You don't make fun of a blind man's cane. Or do you?
Joe in Miami Grrrs: Okay, here is my Grrrrrrrr! When I see passengers in cars with bare feet on the dash board or when the driver has a foot out of the window and driving at the same time!!! And what makes me go more then Grrrrrrrrrrr is when the wife is starting to point them out at me when she sees them so she can grrrrrr right along with me.
Brian in San Diego Grrrs: Why is it that most upper-middle aged to elderly women seem compelled to challenge the price of every third item at the grocery store checkout line?! Also...if you must write a check for every purchase you make, please do your check-balancing once you get home. (Ditto Greg Gentry in Yadkinville, NC).
Linda from Oklahoma City on men spitting in public: Keep your personal residue to yourselves.
Perry W. of Fayetteville, N.C., Grrrs: Since returning from Iraq, I've noticed that I've had to redevelop my patience in traffic situations. The one Grrrrr that really gets me is waiting in the left turn lane behind people who forget they want to turn left. If the left turn signal lasts only 10 seconds, and the drivers in front take five of that to wake up, blow their noses, and push the gas pedal, then the other 20 of us drivers behind them will never get through the light. We then have to wait through another cycle or two, depending on how many other oblivions are in front of us. I just hope I'm paying attention when it is my turn (haha). On the positive side, I am thankful to be in a country where we have the freedom to speak our mind peacefully — even our Grrrrs. Americans should be proud of their country.
Fred Buckley won't put his money where Donald Trump's mouth is: Has Donald Trump ever made money for his shareholders? It's obvious that he enjoys success off of their capital investment along with his executive henchpeople. Has he ever answered to that accusation? I would never invest with him.
On Clamshell Packaging, Brandon in Houston Grrs: You're right-on regarding the clam shell packaging. The day before I read your column, I had put down one product—batteries—in a clam shell and bought its competitor simply because I didn't want the hassle of trying to open it. Three things happen when I purchase these products: 1.) I search in vain for an "open her"' tab 2.) my blood pressure spikes 3.) the hard plastic cuts me.....man I hate that stuff.
B.P. in Arizona disagrees: I like your column and most of your Grrrs! are right on the money. But I have to tell you that on the subject of clamshell packaging, you sound like an oblivion. I don't enjoy opening the packages either but clamshell packaging has saved consumers billions of dollars and actually eliminated numerous retail shopping Grrrs!...I buy so much stuff in clamshell packages that I actually have THREE pairs of scissors dedicated to the task. One in the kitchen, one in the garage and one in the office. I use boning scissors, the ones you find at the supermarket for cutting through, say, the breastbone of a chicken. The time and skill required to use these scissors for neatly opening a clamshell package is somewhere on par with brushing your teeth and they only cost about five bucks. This does not make me go Grrr!
Jeff Q. in St. Louis Mo., defends loud radio behavior: This is in response to all those people who GRRR at people like me who play their radio's loud. This is my way of venting after a long hard day or a way of enjoying myself when I drive. I know many people do not like my choice of music (good old fashioned rock n' roll) and I try to limit my abuse of my speakers at stoplights and so forth, but give it a break people, please! I don't think I'm cooler than anybody else, I just like loud music. And no, sorry, I'm not going to roll up my windows on a nice afternoon, I'm entitled to have them down just like everyone else. So, my GRRR is to people who judge others because of the choice and/or volume of their music.
Jennifer C. from Pittsburgh, Pa.: GRRR to cigarette smokers who think the "Cigarette Fairy" exists out there! It is incredibly irritating to watch so many smokers drop their cigarette to the ground, stomp it out, and then continue on as if that's the end of it. Hello? That's litter! Bend down and pick it up and deposit it into a trash can, or put it in your pocket until you find a place to throw it out. It was fine and dandy to put it in your mouth — so carrying it around for a few seconds shouldn't be a hardship.
An even bigger GRRRRRRR to those folks who pitch their still lit cigarette into the street before they get on a bus, or enter a store. Wake up people, the "Cigarette Fairy" does not go around picking up your butts! Not only is it incredibly inconsiderate, but it is LITTERING! Do you pitch your McDonald's wrapper into the street? I do not enjoy dodging those butts on the sidewalks, watching dogs trying to chew on them, or see parents frantically trying to keep their curious toddlers from picking them up off the ground. DO NOT LITTER!!!! Put the Cigarette Fairy out of work! GRRR!
The Cutting Room
Check out my FOX Magazine piece on Independent Music and indie band Eystone (search), and another piece on the new American Idol exhibit at Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum in New York City. When the American Idol piece ran on FOX Magazine, we had to cut out singer Zachary Stevenson for purposes of time. It happens, but I picked him up off the cutting room floor for the web version.
Until next week, Grrrrrrrrrr!
Mike Straka is the Director of Operations and Special Projects for FOXNews.com, and contributes as a features reporter and producer on "FOX Magazine" & "Sunday Best." As an actor, Straka appeared in the film "Analyze This," co-starred in the Off-Broadway hit "Tony n' Tina's Wedding," and has done several television commercials & shows.