Harry Potter casts his spell over Rod Blagojevich

The Celebrity Apprentice this week was right up our street…literally. The contestants were involved in an interesting challenge that revolved around the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and they were charged with creating a 3 dimensional interactive display that children could relate to in order to attract families to Universal Orlando this Summer.

By now, any version of the Apprentice follows a predictable path; big large sponsor company designs a task that guarantees them maximum exposure while the apprentices flounder around trying to create something of a masterpiece with which to impress their corporate bosses. Usually we see teams falling apart and then amazingly they usually kiss and make up just as Trump enters the Boardroom and they profess undying love for each other “as everyone did their best”.

Naturally this charade lasts about as long as it takes Harry Potter to mount his broomstick as Trump announces the winner and the loser. The losers then take turns to bash each other until Trump is left with what is usually an easy decision to fire someone.

This episode was different however. It had a different dynamic.

The two team managers were put on a corporate jet… nice plug for the jet leasing company as they walked over the mat to the door … and had no clue where they were headed until Trump popped up on the TV and informed them that Orlando was the destination and that they were heading to Universal Orlando to do the research for their task.

While in Orlando each team manager was given a chance to communicate with the team they had left behind about the extent of the task and to grab as many ideas, not to mention  freebies, as possible to take back with them to New York.

The team managers for the task were Rod Blagojevich and Selita Ebanks and it soon became clear that one of them had a very distinct advantage. Blagojevich, you will recall, is the twice elected former governor of Illinois now accused of corruption and trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Obama. Ebanks, on the other hand, is one of the most sought after and respected models of her generation and it quickly became clear that she held the upper hand as she was able to text and email her team instructions back in the Big Apple while Blagojevich was quickly found out to be technically incompetent.

With no idea how to text or email Blagojevich was at a massive disadvantage and his first phone call back to his team was to effectively put rock star Bret Michaels in charge of the creative aspect and pretty much the whole task. In the end both teams did a pretty good job of the main task and both created a decent looking display but it was the attention to detail that cost the mens team dearly as they failed to understand the Harry Potter script and some of its nuances…with the team leader being the worst of the lot by failing to even understand the basic fact that the exhibit was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter rather than his “Wizard World of Harry Potter”.

So, Blagojevich was “fired” by the Don and it has to be said there was much to admire about his loyalty to Michaels as he simply refused to throw him under the bus by bringing him back to the boardroom. Ebanks and the ladies emerged the winner and with it, a nice $20K check to her charity in Sierra Leone.

Nigel Worrall & George Ross

It was also nice to see George Ross back as one of Trump’s eyes and ears and I have to say I was impressed with the savvy business skills of Erin Burnett, who was the other, as she homed in on the fact that the real reason the men lost was because of their failure to pay attention to detail.

Overall, a very decent episode for a change and at long last it seems that Universal Orlando are finally getting their act together and doing some marketing. Good to see.

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