Kindness triumphs! Leeza Gibbons wins Celebrity Apprentice

While New York City was in a deep freeze, Donald Trump heated things up going live on Monday, Feb. 16 with the final episode of The Celebrity Apprentice where two iconic newscasters —Geraldo Rivera and Leeza Gibbons — competed head to head. Trump named Leeza Gibbons the winner of Celebrity Apprentice, in the show’s 14th season (the seventh season of just celebs). Trump awarded Leeza Gibbons’ charity Leeza’s Care Connection with $250,000.

“Leeza you led with kindness. I don’t see these people in New York,” Trump said. “You really do have tremendous talent and tremendous leadership ability. You also raised a tremendous amount of money.”

Leeza Gibbons wins Celebrity ApprenticeGibbons blew Geraldo away with her closing argument, saying: “I played the game with a lot of heart and a lot of integrity… but I disagree that I played it safe. I think I played it smart. I think I played it strategically — otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here — and I think my record speaks for itself. I was never called back to the boardroom, you [Geraldo] were called back many times, and it has been great television to watch. My record includes 3 losses and 8 wins, including the time I got you out of a slump as project manager – you had lost five times. I was able to raise you to a victory. And I say that not to boast but I was proud of the victory … I believe I started with my eye on the prize and I believe I’m the next Celebrity Apprentice.”

Hard to top those stats, but it was the final challenge, which Gibbons won, that solidified her victory. The final challenge required Leeza and Geraldo to deliver on several fronts. First they needed to create a commercial for Universal Orlando Resort, then they had to secure a celebrity to perform at their presentation to Universal executives, and, lastly they needed to make one final run at fundraising (a previous task that Geraldo has been simply phenomenal at). Here’s how it went down …

Geraldo Rivera, Leeza Gibbons

Leeza Gibbons
Leeza’s charity: Leeza’s Care Connection – an organization that honors her mother who had Alzheimer’s disease, which gives free resources to caregivers of Alzheimer patients
Celeb helpers: Brandi Glanville, Johnny Damon and Kevin Jonas
Video focus: Very rigid over-scheduled dad who in the end discovers the best way to make memories is just to be spontaneous.
Celebrity performer: Olivia Newton John singing “Magic”
Money raised on challenge: $324,000 (season total approx. $788,000)
Comments from her team:
“Zero ego. Listens and communicates with everyone, “ said Granville.
“So poised. Classy and confident and understands how to treat people, which is a really big deal ,” said Jonas.
Comments about herself: “I tried to stay in my lane. I was able to cut out the crazy and drop the drama,” and she went on to credit the incredible cast of talented individuals that surrounded her.

Geraldo Rivera
Geraldo’s charity: Life’s WORC – that supports individuals with developmental disabilities inclusive of those on the autism spectrum.
Celeb helpers: Ian Ziering, Lorenzo Lamas and Vivica A. Fox
Video focus: Discover your inner hero
Celebrity performer: Tony Orlando singing “Tie a Yellow Ribbon”
Money raised on challenge: $146,000 (season total approx. $725,000)
Comments from his team:
“Very driven, comes with a lot of confidence. Geraldo just finds a way to survive and thrive. He lost five in a row and yet stayed above the fray,” said Ziering.
Comments about himself: “I’m Geraldo I’m not anyone to trifle with.”
“It’s a competition. Someone has to win, someone has to be organized. You need passion, you need commitment, you need confidence to pull it off. And, it’s also a television show, if I may say so.”

Gibbons joins the ranks of past celeb winners including Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers, Bret Michaels, John Rich, Arsenio Hall and Trace Adkins.

The celebs this season included Vivica A. Fox, Shawn Johnson, Terrell Owens, Lorenzo Lamas, Kenya Moore, Leeza Gibbons, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Geraldo Rivera, Johnny Damon, Gilbert Gottfried, Brandi Glanville, Kate Gosselin, Ian Ziering, Jamie Anderson, Sig Hansen and Kevin Jonas.

NBC has renewed Celebrity Apprentice for a 15th season.

Images Credit: NBC