9:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Donald Trump on 'All-Star Celebrity Apprentice': It's 'One of the Most Dramatic Seasons' (Video)
Donald Trump promises no shortage of drama in the first all-star edition of The Celebrity Apprentice.
"I think it's certainly one of the most dramatic seasons," the NBC reality show's host told reporters in a conference call, adding: "We have brought back some of the people that everybody really likes because it’s an all-star season. It’s a very dramatic season, amazing things happen."
He added that the cast -- which includes past winner Bret Michaels as well as La Toya Jackson, both of whom also took part in the call -- is "a very smart group of people."
"They’re people that have done well in life and also in the show," he said in response to a question from The Hollywood Reporter, adding: "It’s a very nasty show. ... Omarosa is extremely nasty, I can tell you. I’m a big fan of Omarosa … But she was brutal."
As longtime viewers know, this is the polarizing reality star's third time competing, having been part of the original non-celebrity cast when the series premiered in 2004 and then taking part in the first celebrity edition eight years later, when she famously sparred with eventual winner Piers Morgan.
Said Jackson of Omarosa: "Absolutely brutal is right. And, you know, I was told over and over she’s very conniving and cunning and I just -- you’re faced with it. It’s right there. And she was brutal."
Trump adds that another returning competitor, Gary Busey -- who famously sparred with Meat Loaf in his original season but whose unique personality also was the source of much humor -- also is the source of "unbelievable conflict" this season. Trump described the Oscar-winning actor as "a strange kind of guy" who also is "great entertainment."
"In his own way, he’s a genius," Trump added.
Asked by THR why the time was right to do an all-stars edition, Trump -- who also is an executive producer -- said there have been a slew of past competitors who didn't win but were very well liked by the viewers. He said that everyone whom the producers really wanted back on the show said yes, and this particular group of stars were chosen for their "chemistry." (The other returning competitors are Trace Adkins, Stephen Baldwin, Marilu Henner, Penn Jillette, Claudia Jordan, Lil Jon, Lisa Rinna, Brande Roderick, Dennis Rodman and Dee Snider.)
Trump added that he wasn't surprised to see past winner Michaels return for another shot, although he thought the rocker has "guts" for taking a huge risk in doing so instead of choosing to become an adviser to Trump along other past winners Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers, John Rich and Arsenio Hall (Trump's kids Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric also return as boardroom advisers).
The host declined to say whether he's harder on Michaels this season, but he did reveal: "I told him actually during the show … I said, 'I don’t know why you’re doing this.' Because, you know, it’s like a heavyweight champion. You win the fight and then you sort of retire and then you want to come back and win it again. And it took a lot of courage and I respect that."
For his part, Michaels says he didn’t hesitate when asked to return -- noting that he "wasn't at the peak of my best health" the first time, having suffered a brain hemorrhage and later a warning stroke that led doctors to find a hole in his heart -- but admits he felt like he was at a "major disadvantage" going in the second time because of his past-winner status.
"It’s like you want to call it the Super Bowl Syndrome -- when a team comes back that has won it, everyone is gunning for them," he said, adding that the reason he returned was to play for his charity, the Life Rocks Foundation-National Philanthropic Trust.
Jackson -- who became the first fired contestant ever allowed to return to competition in the same season -- says she was actually a bit more hesitant when approached after having clashed with some of her teammates on her original season. But she ultimately signed on, thinking it was important to bring awareness to her charity, the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Of their competition, Jackson adds that some players were willing to do whatever it took to win, while Michaels called some out as "pretty good TV professional villains," though he declined to say who.
Trump also teased that, in addition to the contestants, "some of the biggest stars in Hollywood will be coming onto the show" this season, but said he was not allowed to reveal names.
All-Star Celebrity Apprentice debuts at 9 p.m. Sunday on NBC. Watch the trailer below.