• Plus: The only piece of advice Lord Sugar gave Bell
The Celebrity Apprentice boardroom is looming for a new set of celebrities as they get ready to use their business savvy – and little black book of contacts – to raise money for their chosen charities. Under the watchful eye of Lord Alan Sugar and Janine Allis, the celebrities will also be guided by a new advisor this year.
Nick Bell launched his first digital marketing company in 2008 – fast forward to now and he has founded 12 successful global digital agencies across Australia, Asia, and the Middle East.
With a resume that includes the companies First Page, Appscore, Removify, Lisnic, Primal, Chili Bell, and being named in the annual Australian Financial Review Young Rich List five times, he has a lot to bring to the boardroom.
“I actually received a message via LinkedIn asking if I’d be interested in joining the show. I thought, ‘is this real? Is it a prank or a scam?,” says Bell. “I responded to the message and jumped on a call. I had a good chat with the team, and realised no, it’s actually a legit opportunity.
“I’ve always watched the show – I’ve seen the American one, parts of the UK one, the Aussie one. I thought, ‘let’s get involved’.”
Sitting alongside two seasoned Celebrity Apprentice pros, Bell says that he was hoping to bring something a bit different to the boardroom.
“Everyone’s unique and different in their own way. Lord Sugar is very strong in electronics and property, Janine is in retail, and my strength is in digital – so I was hoping to bring more of a digital side to the boardroom.”
Bell says the expert subjects weren’t the only differences between the advisors.
“I’m a lot more direct with my opinions, whereas Janine was a lot softer with her approach. I definitely learned a lot from Janine.
“Then you’ve got Lord Sugar who is super direct, and he just says it how it is. So it was an interesting mix.
“Lord Sugar said to me once ‘Stop stressing, you’ll be fine, we can do a retake if you stuff it up’. That’s the only piece of advice he gave me in the whole two and a half months.
“The thing about Lord Sugar is that he’s direct as hell, what you see is what you get, but once you get to know him he’s a big softy. I nicknamed myself the Sugar whisperer! Once you break down that tough facade, he actually is a very kind human being.”
As with any production being made at the moment, Bell says that Covid caused a few bumps in the road.
“Warner Brothers was very strict on wearing a mask and testing – two or three times a week we were all tested. If you weren’t vaxxed you couldn’t come on set, so there were challenges for some people who refused the vax.
“Warner did an amazing job in terms of navigating Covid. There were certain things that they couldn’t do throughout the two and a half months, but they made it work.”
Bell also had to keep a physical distance from the celebrities competing in the show – but for once, it wasn’t due to Covid restrictions.
“On day one when we first spoke to the celebrities, I went to shake their hand and said, ‘Hey guys, I’m Nick, pleasure to meet you’. The producers came over and grabbed me and ‘You can’t have contact with them, they have to see you in a high regard’. So there was very little contact with the celebrities.
“Janine and I spend a lot of time together and the celebrities spend a lot of time together. Our job is to advise and to critique what they’re doing, so it was purely business.”
As for what viewers can expect from the show?
“There’s a lot of drama. There are a lot of tears. I’ll be honest with you, there were some fights as well,” says Bell.
“Going into the show I thought the narrative might be a little bit contrived – it wasn’t. It’s completely raw, it’s completely real, and what you see is what you get. Everyone is fighting for the top position and everyone wants to win, so they’re super competitive. They’re not leaving anything on the table, they go in hard for the prize and they’re willing to throw each other under the bus for it.”
Original posted at www.mediaweek.com.au