Sixteen candidates, all badly affected by the recent economic recession, arrived at Trump Tower in the hopes of becoming the next Apprentice. They divided into two teams -- the men, who named themselves Octane, and the women, who named themselves Fortitude. The first week's task was to design and build an ultramodern workspace. Octane built the better workspace for the win. Project Manager Gene won the right to meet with a powerful CEO: Trump himself! Fortitude went to the boardroom, where Nicole was fired.
The candidates are tasked to sell ice cream in New York City. Fortitude made more profits for the win. Project Manager Poppy won the chance to sit down and speak with Jack Welch, owner of General Electric. Octane went to the boardroom, where Alex was fired.
This week's task is to set up and run and hotel and spa for dogs. Fortitude had the better hotel and spa for the win, as judged by Cesar Millan. Project Manager Tyana won a one-on-one with Def Jam CEO Russell Simmons. Octane went to the boardroom, where James was fired.
Trump tasks the teams with creating a video for Popcorn Indiana, with the intention of it going viral on the internet. One team loses a member to a dental emergency, and violence in their video causes another teammate concern. On the other side, one team member is ostracized by the rest. In the end, one team hits the mark, with the other team left to fight it out in the boardroom, where another candidate is sent packing.
The teams are tasked with producing a fashion show to launch Rockport's Spring line of shoes. One team makes the risky decision to clothe their models only in shoes and underwear for their finale. The other team faces a crisis with an under-prepared emcee. In the most explosive boardroom yet, Mr. Trump rakes the losing team over the coals before lowering the boom with the fateful words, "You're Fired."
Mr. Trump tasks each team with designing, selling, and operating pedicab tours. Right off the bat, one side falls short as two team members fail the test and are not allowed to operate pedicabs. The other team chooses a colorful theme, but escalating tensions threaten to derail sales. In the boardroom, one candidate begs Mr. Trump to get rid of a teammate. When the numbers are revealed, the losing team remains to fight it out and Mr. Trump fires another candidate.
Each team is given an up-and-coming musical, and tasked with producing a backer's audition for potential investors. One project manager admits to knowing nothing about musical theatre, but then sends away a concert pianist on their team. On the other team, a sidelined candidate takes over creative control. Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth helps judge each presentation, and the past comes back to haunt one teammate in a shocking boardroom, before Mr. Trump sends another candidate packing.
Teams must create a 4-page advertorial featuring the suits, shirts, and cufflinks of the Donald J. Trump Signature line. On one team, the project manager becomes obsessed with one of the models. The other project manager strips down to pose in a racy bedroom scene. In the boardroom, Mr. Trump reveals the winning team and the losers battle it out before another candidate is fired.
Mr. Trump tasks the teams with creating an in-store display for Perfumania, featuring a fragrance by Kim Kardashian. A female contestant feels pressured by male teammates to bring a feminine touch to the team's design. On the other side, a candidate worries that their display is becoming "bedazzled". Kim Kardashian makes a surprise visit to help judge the displays, and in the end, Mr. Trump fires another contestant.
With numbers dwindling on both teams, the candidates must scramble to produce 30-second commercials featuring FLO TV and ATT Mobile TV. One team ambitiously plans to produce two different commercials, while the other takes a risk by casting a teammate in the lead role. A fatal flaw in one team's commercial sends them to the boardroom.
Teams are tasked with writing, directing, producing, and starring in a live sales segment on QVC, while Mr. Trump and Isaac Mizrahi watch the broadcast from New York City. When negotiating for the Isaac Mizrahi products they will sell, one team dupes the other and wins both their preferred product and sales time slot.
In Part 1 of the season finale, the final three face Mr. Trump in the boardroom to plead their cases. The axe falls on one, and the next day, the two remaining candidates are tasked with their final - and toughest - challenge. One finalist will run a VIP golf tournament featuring Kathy Griffin, and the other will manage a Liza Minnelli concert and tournament dinner.
In Part 2 of the season finale, one finalist is horrified to realize that Kathy Griffin has missed the start of the tournament, and that Mr. Trump's golf team is missing a player. The other scrambles to meet the challenge of feeding 450 people before the Liza Minnelli concert.