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If you watch this show, you're fired!

THE SHOW "Celebrity Apprentice"

WHEN | WHERE Sunday at 9 p.m. on NBC/4

REASON TO WATCH A trio of well-known Long Island celebrities. Otherwise . . .

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Eighteen celebs battle to avoid those dreaded words -- "you're fired" -- in the name of charity and face time with the Donald. Among them: Dee Snider, who grew up in Baldwin and now lives in East Setauket; Debbie Gibson, originally from Merrick, and Victoria Gotti, who lived in Old Westbury. And the rest of the crew: Arsenio Hall, Clay Aiken, Adam Carolla, Lou Ferrigno, Penn Jillette, George Takei, Michael Andretti, Paul Teutul Sr., Cheryl Tiegs, model-voice actress Tia Carrère, Lisa Lampanelli, former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, Danity Kane's Aubrey O'Day, actress-model Patricia Velásquez, and "Real Housewives of New Jersey's" Teresa Giudice. (Giudice chose NephCure Foundation as her beneficiary of the potential $250,000 prize for winning the show because of her relationship with a Melville family whose 8-year-old is suffering from kidney disease.) Sunday's first task -- the selling of high-end sandwiches, and someone will get fired.

MY SAY Pretty much the first casualty in this fifth-season launch is suspense. Two hours of windy discourse on the art of sandwich-making along with smug, self-congratulatory asides on the show's many charitable acts can do that. These early episodes tend to be the ones where the grasping celebs warily circle each other before plunging the knife in a hated rival's back by, say, March. Who knows whether this crew will yield any drama by then, though there are signs of life in Hall, Jillette, O'Day, Carolla and even Aiken.

Inexplicably, comic Lampanelli -- who could roast a whole chicken with her one-liners -- seems out to lunch, and the same with Giudice (again, it's early). Hometown favorites Snider and Gibson tend to melt into the background in Sunday's opener -- a smart strategy. Trump taped this edition while playing cat-and-mouse with a segment of the national media that actually believed he planned a run for president. But even he seems more studied, or diffident -- it's hard to say which. Maybe Trumpster's just flat-out bored. If so, understandable.

BOTTOM LINE Who will really get fired Sunday? You -- for slogging through two hours of this confoundedly tedious bric-a-brac of a reality show, now entering its 12th overall season.


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