Scandal-hounded former governor kicked off ‘Apprentice’

  • Mon Apr 5th, 2010 10:34pm
  • News

By Maureen Ryan Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was ejected from NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” on Sunday, after yet another display of cluelessness, evasion and arrogance.

Blagojevich’s worst enemies on the show weren’t his teammates. He was done in by his inability to use technology, his addiction to political doublespeak and his inability to admit mistakes. If his appearance on this show was meant to buff up his image in the public eye, it’s hard to see how showing America his most slippery qualities did him any good.

Tasked with creating an interactive display promoting the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Orlando Universal theme park, RockSolid team leader Blagojevich turned over most of the responsibility to Bret Michaels, who dealt with all the details of the construction and design.

Blagojevich and Selita Ebanks, who led the women’s team, Tenacity, flew to Orlando, Fla., to inspect the new Harry Potter area of the theme park. But Blagojevich couldn’t text or e-mail his team about what he saw while he was on the road. And when he spoke on the phone, he had to be careful about what he said because Selita could hear him discussing RockSolid’s plans.

To Blagojevich, his inability to text or communicate with the team was “not that big a deal.” Nor was his hands-off management style, in his view. The team complained of having no clear direction of what the former governor wanted, but he took it all in stride and even slept on the plane back from Florida while the much more hands-on Selita worked on Tenacity’s project.

Blagojevich favored Chicago-style improv rather than prepared remarks during the presentation of the Harry Potter display to a group of fans and Universal executives. Or, as teammate Curtis Stone put it, “The plan for the presentation was, we haven’t got a (bleepin’) plan.”

Stone and Blagojevich’s fellow teammates didn’t look all that broken up to see the former governor go home.