‘Celebrity Apprentice’ Recap: Joan Rivers Honored As Donald Trump Fires Two Cast Members [Video]

Donald Trump is known for tweaking Celebrity Apprentice to boost ratings, from choosing contentious cast members to opting for his own children taking charge in the boardroom. But when he decided to keep previously filmed scenes with Joan Rivers despite her much-publicized death, even the most famous stars on this season’s Celebrity Apprentice were surprised, reported Access Hollywood.

But they also were charmed by the comedienne.

“We were all star-struck, to be honest with you,” admitted Celebrity Apprentice cast member Vivica A. Fox. confessed to Access Hollywood at the Television Critics Association Winter Tour in Pasadena, California.

“When she first walked out it was an absolute, complete surprise. And we all were star-struck and just enamored. And she’s such a class act.”

In retrospect, Trump reflected on the shock that he felt when he learned that Joan Rivers was dead, especially so soon after observing her in action on his show. He had previously worked with Rivers on Celebrity Apprentice, shown below.

But he said he felt it was the right decision to leave her cameos in the final episode.

“You’re going to see tremendous strength from Joan Rivers. Smart, strong, incredible and you’re going to see a woman that was so healthy and was so vivacious and warm and then to have this happen so shortly thereafter, so, somebody made a horrible mistake.”

Dedicating that episode to Joan Rivers, Trump still had to focus on the traditional firing sequences of Celebrity Apprentice. And that meant not one, but two celebrities had to exit the show, reported Entertainment Weekly.

During the first project, Ivanka Trump took charge to instruct the contestants that they needed to craft a mobile boutique to promote her shoe line. Although Vivica’s team lost, Trump fired Shawn Johnson, contending that she failed to volunteer to take the reins as project manager.

The second challenge provided free publicity for a coffee company. Instructed to develop a viral video for Chock Full o’ Nuts, Leeza Gibbons decided to use her power as project manager to force constantly-bickering Real Housewives Kenya Moore and Brandi Glanville to join forces for an unreal foursome with Ian Ziering and Johnny Damon.

Lorenzo Lamas, as project manager, attempted to instruct Geraldo Rivera to star in a video designed to promote the product. But Trump reported to the two teams that the client felt Leeza’s video had dramatically more appeal.

As a result, Lamas found himself on the spot. Vivica said that she felt Kate Gosselin should be fired, but Kate graciously responded saying that Lamas was the one responsible for the team’s failure.

Repeatedly questioned by Trump as to which two contestants would join him in the line-up to be fired, Lorenzo declined to respond. Trump promptly fired him.

For Kate Gosselin, who continues on, meeting Joan Rivers was an inspiration.

“It was grandmotherly Joan that I don’t know if we really got a chance to see otherwise. I never met Joan prior and she was just this teeny tiny little amazing powerhouse of a woman. And I just remember meeting her thinking, ‘My gosh, when I’m 80 whatever, I [want to be] Joan,’ because she was smart as a tack, quick as a wit and really inspiring.”

As the Inquisitr reported, Gosselin currently stars in two reality TV shows. In addition to Celebrity Apprentice, she’s starring again as the matriarch/mom-ager for Kate Plus 8.

[Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images]