Former Trump aide and “Apprentice” star Omarosa Manigault Newman made her debut on CBS’ “Big Brother: Celebrity Edition” on Wednesday night — and shocked her 10 fellow competitors.
The show, hosted by Julie Chen and running in an abbreviated three-week format, sends the 11 celebs to a shared house, where they’ll be filmed and monitored 24/7. During their stay, they’ll vote to evict each other. The last celeb standing wins $250,000.
As soon as Omarosa makes her entrance, fellow competitor Marissa Jaret Winokur (“Hairspray”) visibly balks and says, “Oh, my God.”
When Ross Mathews (“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”) sees Omarosa, he has an even stronger negative reaction. “When people ask me who you don’t want to see in that house, my answer is Omarosa,” he tells the camera in an aside. “I can’t do toxicity and negativity.”
James Maslow (singer of Big Time Rush), the youngest contestant at age 27, didn’t seem to know who Omarosa was. The two chat, and she mentions her stint on “The Apprentice.”
“Who was the person you were apprenticing for?” Maslow asks politely.
“Donald Trump,” says Omarosa.
After a long, awkward pause, he says, “Wow.”
Other house guests include Mark McGrath (former “Sugar Ray” singer and “Celebrity Wife Swap” reality TV veteran), Shannon Elizabeth (“American Pie”), Metta World Peace (former NBA All-Star), Brandi Glanville (“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”), Keshia Knight Pulliam (“The Cosby Show”), Ariadna Gutierrez (Miss Columbia 2014) and Chuck Liddell (former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion).
The show is a spinoff of the international “Big Brother” franchise, which has run on CBS for 19 seasons. This episode marks “Big Brother: Celebrity Edition’s” American debut.
Omarosa first established herself as a reality TV villain on shows like “The Apprentice,” “The Celebrity Apprentice” and “The Ultimate Merger.” She frequently stirred up conflict and drama, including a notorious feud with Piers Morgan in 2013.
Her stint in the White House as the assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison lasted just over a year. When she was fired earlier this year, she was “physically dragged” away from her post.
Conveniently, Omarosa did not have to participate in the show’s first competition, which had contestants hang off of giant Oscar statues while being sprayed with water and paint.
Prior to the challenge, Chen instructed house guests to stand on a random number on the floor. The guest who chose the lucky number would be spared from the first round of evictions — and could therefore sit out the first challenge. Surprise! The (supposedly) random winner was Omarosa.
In her own address to the camera, Omarosa compared “Big Brother” to the White House, telling the camera that her experience there taught her to watch both her back and her front.
It’s going to be an interesting few weeks in that house.