I just interviewed Trump.
Believe me, I tried to find some way to ease into this one, maybe start this article a little more subtly, but I kept coming back to the fact: I interviewed Trump!
I’m pretty excited about this. It was just minutes after he declared comedienne, actress, author and all-around force of nature Joan Rivers the winner of The Celebrity Apprentice, Season Three after a live show in New York City. Ever wonder what goes on behind the interviews? The stuff you don’t see? Come with me.
So my “job” was to interview The Donald and the show’s winner minutes after the season’s final “You’re Fired!” The 3-hour finale was being broadcast live from The American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The broadcast started at 8 that night, but I was supposed to get there at 6:45pm. I did, along with a few hundred of The Donald’s closest friends and business acquaintances. I recognized Jim Cramer from Mad Money on CNBC and a few of the Real Housewives of New York City. We were all there to see a show about business, but the real business seemed to be the impressive parade of fashion in the room. Women wore high heels that had to cost more than my rent. Sequins blinded me from left and right. Skirts were short, furs were worn, diamonds dripped from arms; this was New York City’s fashionistas at their best.
I tried to snap some pics but didn’t want to be obvious, but then I saw someone I consider the barometer of fashion, Andre Leon Tally from Vogue. Here he is not looking too happy about being in a picture with me. Maybe he didn’t think my dress was fab enough?
I couldn’t stop oohing and aaahing over the fashion when I met Jimmy Noonan, a security guard for the event. Jimmy said, “If you think this is something, you should’ve seen the CFDA awards last night!” Apparently, this is the week for fashionable events in New York.
Before you know it, we were all being escorted into the theater. I said goodbye to Jimmy, and ran ahead, trying to catch up when an anchor from a competing network called out to me to hurry up.
I found my seat, and met Roberta, a friend of a very important bigwig from Kodak, one of the show’s sponsors. We noticed that a bunch of people who looked like they were in charge were escorting people from seat to seat. We learned that these people were “seat-fillers.” These are volunteers that come to live shows like this just to, you guessed it, fill seats. That’s so there’s no empty seat looking sad and lonely on camera.
Then, the show started. Trump came out. We were instructed by the floor director when to clap, when to clap wildly and when to stop. Those three hours went quickly. The show was great! It had action, humor, drama and it had Joan Rivers and her opponent, poker-playing powerhouse Annie Duke at each other’s throats.
Then at a minute to 11 p.m., Trump declared Rivers the winner -- my cue to run up onto the stage, find WNBC photographer Dave Miller, and get ready to do my interviews. The woman who was doing public relations for the event “wrangled “ (a PR term) Mr. Trump and I went for it.
In the middle of the interview, he called Joan RIvers over (bonus!) and I interviewed her as well. Then Dave ran back to our live truck to feed the interview so NBC Connecticut and all the other NBC affiliates around the country could use it.
As I waited for Dave, I saw Joan’s daughter, Melissa Rivers come up and try to hurry her mom off the stage. I ran over and somehow talked Joan and Melissa into taking a picture with me.
Then Dave came back and we interviewed Joan’s opponent, Annie Duke. She told me she was not too happy about how Joan treated her, and called her friends “the mafia”. I asked her if she thought Mr. Trump made the right decision, and she looked at me for what seemed like forever but was probably 10 seconds and said plainly, “No….duh!.” I took that as the end of our interview and thanked her.
Dave and I also talked to a bunch of the other celebrity contestants including Dennis Rodman, who said he was heading back to rehab the next day, and Tom Green, who wanted me to tell you all to go to his website, if you dare. We also talked to Steven Baldwin who claimed he was the one who had "toughened Joan up" in one of the previous challenges which was the reason why she won.
At this point, it was about midnight and Dave and I had to finish up our interviews and write a news story for the morning, and feed it back so that everyone could use the story. All of this had to be done in a half hour, including the walk back to the truck. The good news - we made it! Here’s the end result.
And then I hopped in a cab to start my journey home – but not before stopping for a little NYC pizza.