'Celebrity Apprentice' Season 3: Expect Meltdowns

They say that for reality TV producers, the hard work is over by the time taping starts. NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice has its third season premiere on Sunday (9 p.m. ET), and whether it succeeds or fails will come down to one thing: casting. Were Donald Trump's talent scouts able to find just the right (highly combustible) combo of C-list celebs? Did that list include enough personalities who are just this side of crazy? Or did ABC's Dancing With the Stars and VH-1's Celebrity Fit Club nab the most notorious fame-seekers before Apprentice got to them?

Truth be told, season 3 is looking promising. Among its contestants are a good number of dubious achievers, with the notorious former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, 53, leading the pack ("Blago" faces federal corruption charges, and has been impeached and removed from office). Other cast standouts: potty-mouthed reality TV star Sharon Osbourne, 57; Poison singer and reality TV star, Bret Michaels, 46; and 80's pop icon Cyndi Lauper, 56 (whom executive producer Donald Trump describes as "so hot now because her best friend is Lady Gaga.")

The rest of the cast: former baseball star Darryl Strawberry, 47; former Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson, 42; actress and author Holly Robinson Peete, 45; former pro wrestler Bill Goldberg, 43; comedian and actress Carol Leifer, 53; comedian Sinbad, 53; former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders, 37; former WWE wrestler Maria Kanellis, 28; chef Curtis Stone, 34; and model Selita Ebanks, 27.

"It's been very controversial," said Trump (naturally) during a recent interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's Today show. "In fact, the federal government tried to stop Rod from being on the show. But he has a lot of guts." (Others might call that an utter lack of shame, but then again, he's innocent until proven guilty. He'll get his day in court: June 3.)

"Tell me about the women's side of things," said Lauer. "Sharon Osbourne. Cyndi Lauper. Who stands out in your mind? Any meltdowns come up?" (For the record, Lauer was seemingly unaware of the inherent sexism in that question.)

"About three that were major," replied Trump, who's keeping quiet about the specific tasks the competitors took on. (People magazine reports a country-music-themed challenge in Nashville, and Trump says Kodak is one of the sponsoring companies in a future episode.) "And three people who I really thought were strong, tough....forget it. Total meltdowns."

In a media roundtable interview, Trump explained what's different about this season. "These people hate each other, but it’s also funny," he said. "There’s something funny about it that I didn’t have in the first two." With this cast of characters, we don't doubt him!

Plus: Why Would Anyone Go on Celebrity Rehab?

Who will you be rooting for on season 3 of Celebrity Apprentice? Chime in below!

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