Monday, March 4, 2013 | 11:58 p.m.
The Rio headliner magician Penn Jillette was named MVP on “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” that premiered on NBC on Sunday night. He is competing on the Donald Trump show to raise funds for our beloved charity Opportunity Village.
Filmed in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Penn was chosen by Plan B team leader and country star Trace Adkins as his backup, along with Twisted Sister rocker Dee Snider, actresses Marilu Henner and Lisa Rinna and actors Gary Busey and Stephen Baldwin.
They had to make meatballs in a sales competition against “Celebrity Apprentice” winner Bret Michaels of Poison, who led the rival team Power with Las Vegas DJ Lil Jon, NBA bad boy turned diplomat to North Korea Dennis Rodman, singer La Toya Jackson, “Celebrity Apprentice” villain Omarosa and Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick, who took over as team leader.
Bret was “fired” on the first episode by The Donald because his team didn’t raise anywhere near the money that Trace’s team did, and they didn’t even bother to open a retail store. Instead, Trace and Penn relied on deep-pocket donors to bring in $400,000 over Brande and Bret’s $200,000.
In a peek at next Sunday’s episode titled “As Simple As Making Soup,” the teams fly on Donald’s private jet to Orlando, and Penn has to snap a photograph of sleeping teammate Lisa. As Vegas Deluxe reported Sunday, Lisa, Omarosa and Lil Jon were at Andrea’s and Surrender in Steve Wynn’s Encore over the weekend celebrating the new season.
This is Penn’s second appearance on “Celebrity Appearance” playing for Opportunity Village. Appearing on the show a year ago, he raised more than $40,000 for the charity, which was then magically increased by Rio owners Caesars Entertainment with a $250,000 donation -- as if he had won on the April 22 episode instead of being fired.
O.V. directors used some of the funds to purchase two transportation vehicles for the nonprofit that serves people with intellectual disabilities. Penn has said all funds he wins on this new season is earmarked for Opportunity Village.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.