(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Monday’s “Celebrity Apprentice” finale and don’t want to be spoiled).
And just like that, Leeza Gibbons was hired.
After enduring weeks of drama and nerve-wracking challenges, Leeza was named Season 14 winner of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” on Monday night. “Isn’t this amazing?” Leeza asked, after winning an additional $250,000 for her charity.
The show’s host Donald Trump also announced the reality competition would return for Season 15.
Gibbons closed out the current season with eight wins and three losses against runner-up and Fox News correspondent, Geraldo Rivera. The live finale also revisited favorite moments from the season and paid tribute to former winner and adviser, the late-Joan Rivers.
“I’m a little surprised you made it this far. I never thought you were tough enough,” Trump confessed to Leeza. “You led with kindness, and I don’t meet people like you. You do so well. You really do have tremendous talent and leadership ability.”
Unlike other contestants, the Emmy Award-winning broadcaster played
For Leeza’s efforts, the money raised throughout the season and the grand prize will go to her charity, Leeza’s Care Connection. The organization provides a gathering place, resource center and support system for caregivers of people with memory disorders, chronic or progressive illnesses.
Talking about the charity moved Leeza to tears as she remembered her late-mother who battled Alzheimer’s.
“This is a promise I made to my mother to tell her story and make it count,” Leeza said. She used money won throughout the season to open another location for the charity in her native South Carolina.
Leeza added, “I just hope I’ve been as courageous as my mom. I hope I’ve done her proud.”
For the final challenge, Leeza and Geraldo were paired with former teammates to create original commercials promoting Universal Orlando Resort. They also had to raise funds by selling vacation packages as Leeza tapped singer Olivia Newton-John for her musical guest and Geraldo went with performer Tony Orlando.
Both leaders were congratulated for their overall projects and final fundraising totals for the season: more than $724,000 for Geraldo and nearly $500,000 for Leeza who won the last task.
Although Trump had to choose an ultimate victor, he declared both Leeza and Geraldo winners.