Disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich joins Celebrity Apprentice

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The Independent Online

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will be among 14 contestants on the new season of The Celebrity Apprentice.

NBC says others competing for their favorite charities include baseball great Darryl Strawberry, singer-actress Cyndi Lauper, TV personality Sharon Osbourne and Olympic gold medallist Michael Johnson.

Blagojevich is charged with scheming to auction off President Barack Obama's former US Senate seat and with other offences. He was removed from office but has denied any wrongdoing.

Last year he was barred from travelling to Costa Rica to compete in another reality show. His wife, Patti, took his place.

The Celebrity Apprentice, hosted by Donald Trump, returns to US screens on March 14 on NBC.

Other contestants include comedian-actor Sinbad, Australian TV chef Curtis Stone, comedian-author Carol Leifer, former Poison vocalist Bret Michaels, the pro wrestler-actor who calls himself Goldberg, actress Holly Robinson Peete, Victoria's Secret model Selita Ebanks, Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders and WWE wrestler-model Maria Kanellis.

The celebrities won't be vying for a job with Trump, as in the old, civilian-cast Apprentice, but instead will compete in business-oriented tasks around Manhattan to raise money for (and publicise) their favourite charities