Omarosa Manigault joining CBS’ ‘Celebrity Big Brother’

Omarosa Manigault Newman is returning to reality TV.
John Taggart/Bloomberg News/File 2016
Omarosa Manigault Newman is returning to reality TV.

WASHINGTON — Historically, White House aides often land impressive jobs after they finish working for a president.

Some become corporate executives.

Others join law firms.


Quite a few work as well-paid television pundits.

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Omarosa Manigault Newman, who served as Trump’s director of communications at the White House Office of Public Liaison for about a year, is returning to reality television. CBS announced that she'll be one of the 11 celebrities on the debut season of its new reality show ‘‘Celebrity Big Brother,’’ which premieres on Feb. 7.

The show is a spinoff of the network’s flagship reality series ‘‘Big Brother,’’ in which a group of strangers move into a house together. They’re not allowed to communicate with the outside world, while more than 80 cameras and 100 microphones stationed around the house capture their most every move. The contestants also participate in weekly competitions, fighting for a $500,000 grand prize.

The original ‘‘Big Brother’’ began in 2000, and its 20th season will air in summer 2018. The new show is just like ‘‘Big Brother,’’ except the housemates are billed as celebrities.

Manigault Newman will join celebrities such as Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath, ‘‘American Pie’’ actress Shannon Elizabeth, and former NBA player Metta World Peace (also known as Ron Artest).


Manigault Newman, often known simply as Omarosa, played the part of a villain on the first season of ‘‘The Apprentice’’ in 2004, becoming such a breakout personality that the Chicago Sun-Times named her a TV person of the year. TV critic Phil Rosenthal wrote: ‘‘This ‘Apprentice’ villainess is now a noun, verb and adjective, as in: ‘What a total Omarosa!’ ‘Can you believe how she tried to Omarosa me?'’’

Though she was ‘‘fired’’ by Trump on the show, Manigault Newman appeared throughout the years on other iterations of it, often as a special guest. Her stint on the show launched her television career.

‘‘I went from being anonymous to being famous overnight,’’ she told Oprah Winfrey, according to USA Today. ‘‘I did 10 reality shows in one year. I did a stint on soap operas, and I did a couple of scripted shows.’’

Her celebrity grew as she appeared on shows including ‘‘Celebrity Poker Showdown,’’ ‘‘The Surreal Life,’’ and ‘‘Battle of the Network Reality Stars,’’ according to IMDb.

Manigault Newman was one of the most prominent black supporters of the Trump’s candidacy, and she became one of the few black aides in his administration. But her time in the White House was beset with controversy.


In April, she held a personal photo shoot for her upcoming wedding at the White House, to the chagrin of some officials. As Politico reported, ‘‘While it’s unclear whether she received formal permission for the photo shoot, at least some lawyers and other senior aides were not briefed in advance, the officials said. They quickly banned Manigault, director of communications for the Office of the Public Liaison, from posting the pictures online, citing security and ethical concerns.’’

Her abrupt departure from the Trump administration created a stir. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote in an e-mail in mid-December that Manigault Newman resigned ‘‘to pursue other opportunities,’’ adding, ‘‘We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service.’’

Following her resignation, which became official on Jan. 20, Manigault Newman appeared to change her tune about the Trump administration. She appeared on ‘‘Good Morning America’’ and said ‘‘the Trump administration’s actions toward black Americans were ‘upsetting’ and ‘uncomfortable,’ ” The Post reported.

‘‘As the only African American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people,’’ she said.