OFFSTAGE: John Rich’s People Skills a Work of Art

“Are you all hat and no cattle?” That was John Rich’s way of setting high expectations for his Celebrity Apprentice team once he was named project manager on Sunday (April 3) night’s episode. Their mission was to design artwork that they’d then display in a gallery and sell for charity. So with bags and bags full of arts and crafts supplies, they got to work on their masterpieces. Then when Meatloaf couldn’t find his supplies, he had a complete hissy fit with 14 f-bombs directed mainly at Gary Busey. I’m guessing that rift between the two goes a little deeper than just paint and paintbrushes. (Jose Canseco had made a tearful goodbye earlier in the episode because his father had been battling illness and took a turn for the worse. Canseco’s father did die in March, before this show aired. So without him there, there seemed to be even more tension between the men.) So Rich’s first real troubleshooting job was to unravel the tension. “This kind of language and energy going on in here is embarrassing to me,” he said. They eventually moved on, created their art and then opened the gallery doors. “The hillbillies have landed,” Rich said when his Nashville pals started to arrive. “And tonight we’re gonna give, give, give.” A pair of alligator boots Rich painted red, white and blue went for $50,000. A painted cowboy hat fetched $50,000. A Gibson guitar that Rich glued rhinestones on, and had autographed by the Celebrity Apprentice cast, brought in a staggering $470,000. Even Trace Adkins sent in $5,000 for the cause. And so on until they’d raised well over half a million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In fact, Rich’s team made more money than any task in the show’s history with $626,908. But, and this is a big but, the women’s team pulled in $986,000 for an all-time Apprentice record. So since the women won, that meant a man had to be fired. It was Richard Hatch. Even though Rich admitted that Busey was the team’s weakest link, Donald Trump made an executive decision on his own to let Hatch go. But luckily for us country fans, it doesn’t look like Rich is leaving anytime soon.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.