Rebuilding your reputation…don’t do the Celebrity Apprentice

By: Scott Stein, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

I really hate to admit this, but after several years of avoiding so-called “reality” TV shows, I’ve been sucked in by the Celebrity Apprentice. Each week I actually swear that I’m not going to watch, but I still end up tuning in on Sunday night. And now with disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich as one of the contestants, the train wreck of a show is that much worse and yet I get drawn to it each week.

I watch Celebrity Apprentice for the fun of it, at the same time wearing my PR hat and wondering what the heck Blagojevich was thinking when he signed on to be part of this Donald Trump offering. Here you have a life-long politician who was run out of office for trying to sell President Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. He was impeached, but has not been convicted on the Federal charges he faces. And he thinks that going on a reality TV show is the way to rebuild his image. (BTW, he was going to take part in an earlier reality show, but a judge turned down his request to travel to Costa Rica where that show was being taped. His wife stepped in for him.)

His appearance on Celebrity Apprentice is a mockery. At one point in last week’s show the camera caught him on his cell phone apparently talking about his upcoming trial and he is overheard saying…“What did the lawyer say? This lying piece of [expletive deleted]. He betrays me in the job and then he goes and does this. There’s no tape to corroborate that, right?”

This is really a classic example of what not to do when trying to re-establish your reputation. There’s no question that maintaining a positive image is easier than repairing one that has been seriously damaged. Had the Governor come to us, we no doubt would have advised him to maintain a relatively low profile, at least until his Federal court case is resolved, and focus on some small, positive steps to establish a base for repairing his reputation. I can guarantee we would not have suggested going on reality TV.

I’m curious to know if you feel that Celebrity Apprentice will actually help and not do additional damage to an already tarnished Blagojevich? Is there anything the former Governor could do to save his sinking ship?