Eco-consciousness is in place on the set of "The Celebrity Apprentice," which donates construction materials and props to a New York-based recycling company specializing in film production, which in turn donates them to schools and low budget films. "I know they were very conscious as far as the trash cans and where we had to put stuff," adds Arsenio Hall, who's in the cast this season alongside competitors including Clay Aiken, Adam Carolla, Tia Carrere, Lou Ferrigno, Deborah Gibson, Victoria Gotti, Penn Gillette, Lisa Lampanelli and Dee Snider. "I do it in my own life," he adds. "My son had a homework assignment that made me learn what to do. I also don't put Styrofoam peanuts in gifts anymore. It's better to use the L.A. Times."
Hall had turned down the offer to participate several times before because he didn't want to be away from his son, now 12, for that long. But the boy encouraged him to do it this time, and he wanted the chance to compete on behalf of the Magic Johnson Foundation. A fan of the show, Hall knew what he was in for, "but it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I'd walk into the boardroom and start sweating," he says, noting that he "tried to stay out of" the arguments between other players.
Nevertheless glad he participated, Hall became friendliest with Ferrigno and Gillette, and learned that raising money is harder than he thought, particularly in tough economic times. "But please watch the first episode," he asks, hinting that he doesn't stay around for long.
Hall will next be heard as the voice of a crayon in the animated movie "The Hero of Color City" and is working on a series for Cartoon Network based on the blaxploitation movie spoof "Black Dynamite." If he had his choice, he'd like to do something along the lines of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." "I'd like to be the black Larry David," he says.
"The Celebrity Apprentice" premieres on NBC Feb. 19.