Celebrity Apprentice: Arsenio Hall Beats Clay Aiken!
Arsenio Hall is hired!
Donald Trump crowned the late-night talk show host, 56, the new Celebrity Apprentice on the finale of NBC's hit Sunday, as the star -- raising funds for the Magic Johnson Foundation -- triumphed over American Idol singer Clay Aiken.
"Arsenio worked hard and he did a great job and that's why he won," Trump, 65, told Us Weekly after the live finale.
During Sunday's final task -- to produce, sell tickets to and stage a variety show for charity -- Hall netted $167,100 thanks to donations from celeb pals including Jay Leno, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy and Jimmy Kimmel. (For his part, Aiken, 33, raised $301,500 for The National Inclusion Project courtesy of Kelly Clarkson, Lisa Lampanelli and of course his dedicated Claymate fans.)
Staging their variety shows for Trump and other supporters, Hall and Aiken pulled off with help from former contestants Teresa Giudice, Aubrey O'Day and others.
"My mother's here tonight and she's already sat through me losing once," former American Idol runner-up Aiken told the live studio audience before Trump made his final decision. "I feel like the last task was a comprehensive exam that we excelled at."
Countered Hall: "I want to be No. 1. We've heard about Idol many times, but when I was battling Johnny Carson [in the TV ratings] I was No. 2, when I entered a magic contest as a kid I was No. 2. I need to be No. 1!"
Indeed, Hall's wish came true, with Mr. Trump naming him this season's Celebrity Apprentice. As the show's champ, Hall was awarded an additional $250,000 for his charity in addition to the funds he raised at his event.
"I can't wait to deliver this $250,000 check to my friend "Erv" for The Magic Johnson Foundation. It's a dream to be able to support the important work they do on a daily basis and I am humbled to be able to contribute to their ongoing mission," Hall, who played in memory of his cousin who passed away from AIDS shortly before he signed on to do the show.
Hall also praised his "lil' brother Clay" for providing him with fierce competition -- and friendship -- throughout the series. "Tonight we are both truly winners!" Hall said after the show. "Reality's Batman and Robin! I will always treasure that friendship."
Tell Us: Did Arsenio Hall deserve to be named Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice?