Is there any weakness that could derail the finalists in this last challenge?
"I think that will be shown. There were some weaknesses, not on the contestants' behalf but in the task in general. That will appear on Thursday night's episode."
Do you think this will be the final instalment of the series without celebrities?
"Probably. We've had such great success with both the regular one and the celebrity version, but the Celebrity Apprentice has really been great. We really wanted to do one to see what it would be like with the bad economy. When [the non-celebrity edition] first came on, it was a whole different world! The world was a successful place and it went on in that atmosphere. NBC and I wanted to show the world as it is now. Brandy and Clint are great people but they had a hard time with this economy. Five years ago, they had great jobs. They were making a fortune! People asked us - a lot of people wanted to see one more version of regular Apprentice put into the economy we're stuck with today, which isn't very good. The next season of Celebrity Apprentice is finishing up now, though. We've got some amazing people and that will come on March 6."
How did this season affect your own views of change in this country?
"I think this season was a little sad - everyone wasn't as 'up' as before. They were representative of what's going on in the country so in one way it was a bit of a downer. In another way, it was very inspirational and I think people learned a lot. We have some fans who knew every line of every show. It's amazing how some people latched onto this one! They really found it to be educational and that was always very important to me on this show."
Which contestants surprised you by performing better than expected throughout the season?
"I think Liza was a bit of a surprise! She turned out being better than many people thought she would be. She's also a great golfer! She's a professional, collegiate golfer and was very impressive with her athleticism. I think that Clint was a bit of a surprise, to be honest. I think that he was someone that was underestimated in the beginning and turned out to be a star. I think Steuart was excellent. We really had some excellent people on the show. A couple of them got in trouble but I think they redeemed themselves as they came back. Brandy looked good from the beginning - she was tough and smart, she fought back when she needed to and didn't waste energy. We had some really great contestants, I thought."
What was your original idea behind launching the series?
"I think it really started as an educational show and maybe a business show simultaneously. It was about how to get ahead, how to do well in business, how to do well in the world. It started as that and really continues as that and it's one of the things that inspired me to do it in the first place. It's been amazing to me that it's done so well for so long. We do love regular Apprentice but the celebrity version has really brought it to a new level."
How much do you weigh the concept of potential over experience in regards to the person that you eventually hire?
"Well, the word potential is always one that you look at with people. It does weigh. It's not something that we're over-enthusiastic about when picking a winner but it absolutely plays a part. Take Andy Litinsky - he was on season two and I hired him and he still works for me. He went to Harvard and loves showbusiness and is a great guy. He's been with me five years now, and he was very young when I hired him but I chose him based on potential. So it is important."
You've talked about the possibility of running for president. Have you ever considered being a consultant to the White House now?
"They need help, believe me. I haven't thought about it but they definitely need help. This country is doing very, very poorly, especially in reference to other countries that are doing well primarily because we allow them to. I would not go in that way, though."
You've been an inspiration for young entrepreneurs for years. What was the most important thing to inspire you in your career?
"I had a father who was a great guy and a developer in Brooklyn and Queens. I watched the way he worked and saw how he carried himself and that was a definite inspiration to me."
What kind of competitor do you think a young Donald Trump would have been on a show like The Apprentice?
"Probably the first one fired! I'm amazed at these people, I really am. Obviously some don't do very well but I'm amazed at Clint and Brandy - it never ceases to amaze me how hard-working, sharp, smart and cunning they are. They have so many qualities and they also have patience. I'm not sure I would - I think I would be lacking. Patience is something you would really need because it's a gruelling process. I don't know that I'd do well at all!"
How has your involvement with the series helped you to become a better businessman?
"I've learned a lot from a lot of different people. We've had strong ones and weak ones and smart ones. I've learned a lot - I thought I pretty much knew it all when it came to business and life but I really have learned a lot. That's really what I like about The Apprentice - people say that they've learned by watching it, but I've learned a lot by being involved in it."
The Apprentice ends Thursday on NBC