NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Television personality and author Leeza Gibbons was crowned the Season 7 winner of The Celebrity Apprentice on Monday night's live finale, earning her the distinction of being only the second woman after Joan Rivers to receive the title.
Gibbons beat out her fellow finalist, talk-show host Geraldo Rivera. She also earned a $250,000 prize, which will be added to the show's $2 million total charity earnings for the season. Although the show has run for 14 seasons, seven editions featured non-celebrities.
"We had an incredible season and an incredible set of players this year. However, out of the 16 contestants, Leeza clearly demonstrated that she had the ultimate skills necessary to be called the next Celebrity Apprentice," said host and Executive Producer Donald Trump. "The Celebrity Apprentice has proven time and time again to be the toughest reality show on television today. Leeza was able to win $714,000 for her charity, Leeza's Care Connection. I congratulate Leeza on her win and welcome her as the second woman to the elite group of winners including Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers, Bret Michaels, John Rich, Arsenio Hall and Trace Adkins. I'd also like to congratulate Geraldo on his tremendous effort and impressive game play."
"Mom always told me to stay in my lane and focus on my own race. That's what I tried to do," said Gibbons. "My goal was simple -- to show the kind of strength my mother had as she battled Alzheimer's disease and to honor those families who are care-giving. I hope I did. With my winnings from the show, Donald Trump has made it possible for me to open a new Leeza's Care Connection in my hometown of Columbia, S.C. Thank you to the Trump family, Mark Burnett and his incredible production team, NBC and all of my cast-mates for making this a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Trump's last task for the final two contestants was to create a commercial for vacation packages to Universal Orlando Resort. The commercials were then judged based on creativity, brand message, money raised selling vacation packages and overall presentation.
When the season began Jan. 4, the women contestants included Gold Medal Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson; movie star Vivica A. Fox; reality star and author Brandi Glanville; TV personality, author, and mother of eight Kate Gosselin; gold medal Olympian Shawn Johnson; Kenya Moore, former Miss USA and star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta; and television icon Keshia Knight Pulliam.
The men included two-time World Series champion Johnny Damon; actor and comedian Gilbert Gottfried; Sig Hansen, the star of Deadliest Catch and Captain of the Northwestern; musician Kevin Jonas; actor Lorenzo Lamas; NFL great Terrell Owens; and actor Ian Ziering.