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DATE News (chronologically)
02/27/12
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Andretti survives 2nd episode NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice"
Michael Andretti
Former IndyCar driver and now team owner Michael Andretti says NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" is no easy ride.  Andretti survived the second episode on Sunday, staying alive on the hit reality show.

"It was a great one. The men had a blast doing it. It was a lot of fun," said Andretti.

Sunday's second episode ended with the firing of Victoria Gotti, daughter of famed Mafia boss John Gotti.

"She got picked to in the board room, the last one. Yeah, I wasn't surprised," Andretti said. "Hopefully we won't see anybody floating around in any rivers tomorrow, but we'll see."

While Andretti wouldn't give away any secrets about next week's third episode of the season, he did say it isn't getting any easier.

"It's a lot of work. A lot of work," he said. "But yeah, I don't mind work. I do whatever it takes to win."

Andretti, son of legendary race car driver Mario Andretti, wasn't exactly in the driver's seat on Sunday night's "Celebrity Apprentice." But as a member a winning team, he coasted safely into another week on the NBC reality show starring Donald "You're Fired" Trump.

So far, on the competition that sent home super model Cheryl Tiegs last week, the competing celebrities have been divided into two teams -- men verses women.

Trump's challenge on week two: Create a show for Medieval Times, a dinner and entertainment venue in Lynhurst, N.J. The show had to include activities typical of a day when men battled in jousting matches to win the hand of a fair lady. A live audience would pick the winner.

Both teams decided on spoofs, hoping to win the hearts of the audience with humor. But it was clear from the planning stages that the men's team would have an upper hand, despite being down one humorous player.  Comedian Adam Carolla was hosting a wedding the day when the episode was filmed.

Magician Penn Jilette, a seasoned performer who can juggle and swallow fire, stepped up as the team leader. He made quick work out of placing his teammates into roles that best suited their strengths.

Andretti took a back seat to stronger entertainment personalities and had very little camera time and only one line during the entire episode. He most likely was doing what he does best -- taking care of business, albeit behind the scenes.

Their plot was simple. Tough guys Lou Ferrigno ("Incredible Hulk") and Paul Teutel, Jr. ("American Chopper") would battle for the hand of fair "lady" Dee Snider (yes, the Twisted Sister was dressed in drag). Ferrigno charged in on horseback; Teutel, on chopper with Medieval design. Star Trek's George Takei was announcer; "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aikens sang.

Snider broke a finger when he slid off his spooked horse during rehearsal but persevered, nonetheless, as the fair, or should I say "not so fair,' lady. After Ferrigno won the battle and got a closer look at the damsel he was fighting for, he turned his sword on himself. Their presentation was well executed team work.

The ladies decided to appeal to the crowd at the New Jersey venue with a "Unreal Housewives of New Jersey" skit. "Real Housewife" star Teresa Giudice was key. Their spoof was cute, but not nearly as professional.

Comedian Lisa Lampanelli was a strong leader but locked horns with author Victoria Gotti, who felt she didn't have an important enough role. Their bickering was annoying -- to the point that I wanted to change the channel. It was no shock that Gotti was fired. But I'm sure there's enough cattiness left on that team to fuel several more long and grueling boardroom battles.

Andretti was a last-minute fill-on for his son Marco, originally cast for the show. Marco dropped out after his good friend and fellow race car driver, Dan Wheldon, was killed in an accident at Las Vegas Speedway the day before filming began. Michael dropped everything at his Indianapolis business, Andretti Autosport, to fly to New York for filming.

Leaving behind his business was tough. But I'm not sure anything was tougher than listening to the women bicker ad nauseam.

Let's hear it for the men and teamwork.

The next episode of "Celebrity Apprentice" is 9 p.m. Sunday on NBC.

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