From Indy car driver to team owner and event promoter was a natural transition for Michael Andretti, who recorded 42 CART victories during his career.
Andretti Autosport has recorded 39 victories and three championships in the IZOD IndyCar Series, along with two Indianapolis 500 wins, since joining the series in 2003. The team also has posted 15 Firestone Indy Lights victories, and fields cars in the two other Mazda Road to Indy series (Star Mazda and USF2000). Andretti Green Promotions also was spun off from the Indianapolis-based team, and the organization's latest venture is Andretti Sports Marketing.
So when the producers of "Celebrity Apprentice" were searching for star power for the fifth season, the business-savvy Andretti was a natural to contact. Andretti was among the 18-member cast introduced Jan. 4 on "Today" on NBC. The series premieres at 9 p.m. (ET) Feb. 12. “This season of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ will be the most exciting yet," said executive producer Donald Trump, who's succinct "You're fired" measures productivity of teams and individuals at the close of each weekly installment. "The show will be great, with a record number of contestants and 15 episodes. We are thrilled to bring 18 new and talented celebrities who will help me make ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ one of the hottest shows on television this spring."
Other men introduced were talk show host Arsenio Hall, singer Clay Aiken, radio host Adam Carolla, the “Incredible Hulk” Lou Ferrigno, magician/comedian Penn Jillette, singer Dee Snider, actor George Takei, and “American Chopper” star Paul Teutul.
Women introduced were model Cheryl Tiegs, singer Debbie Gibson, actress/singer Tia Carrere, author and reality star Victoria Gotti, comedienne Lisa Lampanelli, former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, singer/actress Aubrey O’Day, actress/model Patricia Velásquez, and “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice.
The celebrity contestants will compete with the goal of raising money and awareness for their charity of choice. The last person standing will be “hired” as the Celebrity Apprentice and have the honor of delivering a $250,000 bonus check to their designated charity. Previous winners were Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers, Bret Michaels and John Rich.
Last season, “Celebrity Apprentice” raised a record amount for the contestants’ charities, donating more than $3.1 million to charity.