LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich will be among stars taking on real estate mogul Donald Trump in the boardroom for the “Celebrity Apprentice” television program in March, NBC said on Monday.
Blagojevich, who was forced to resign and is awaiting trial in Chicago on charges of trying to sell President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat, will face off against singer Cyndi Lauper, British TV reality judge Sharon Osbourne and 11 other celebrities in the third season of the show.
The Chicago judge handling the disgraced ex-governor’s criminal case said in October that he was concerned Blagojevich might make comments on “Celebrity Apprentice” that could influence potential jurors or haunt him during the trial.
Blagojevich, who has pleaded innocent to all charges, has a tentative trial date of June 2010.
On the show’s upcoming version, the celebrities will take part in business-oriented, women vs men tasks around New York, battling to avoid the famous words “You’re fired!” from Trump and competing for charities close to their hearts.
Last year, Blagojevich was banned by a judge from traveling to Costa Rica to take part in another NBC reality show “I‘m A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!” because of potential flight risk. His wife Patti took his spot instead, saying she was doing it to earn money for her family.
Other celebrities competing on “Celebrity Apprentice,” starting March 14 include former baseball player Darryl Strawberry, rock singer Bret Michaels of the band Poison, retired Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson, Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks and wrestler and model Maria Kanellis.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte