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Associated Press
Bill Rancic suits up for small businesses with Intuit Small Business Big Game.

Rancic embraces power-couple status with wife

Will moderate competition for small businesses

– Bill Rancic embraces the notion of being part of a power couple with wife Giuliana. Both together and separately they have pretty busy careers, made exponentially more intense with the arrival of their son, Edward Duke, last year.

You may remember Rancic from winning the inaugural season of the NBC reality show “The Apprentice.” As the only one to not hear Donald Trump utter his trademark phrase, “You’re fired,” Rancic went on to work for the real estate mogul.

These days the couple remain busy with Giuliana hosting E! News, being part of the “Fashion Police” crew, and having her own fashion line, “G by Giuliana Rancic.” Together they have a reality show “Giuliana & Bill” on the Style Network and are in the restaurant business.

And if that’s not enough, he’s moderating a competition for small-business owners sponsored by the software maker Intuit where one business wins a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl.

Recently, the 42-year-old TV personality sat down with The Associated Press to talk about family, business and the power of a Super Bowl ad.

Q. You and Giuliana lead busy lives. How do you kick back?

A. We run a lot. We exercise and now we have a little boy at home; I’m now a father so that’s my new role, that’s my new job and it’s the best job I’ve ever had in my life. It’s pretty amazing. He’s 11 months yesterday. He’s crawling and 25 pounds. He’s a big kid. We just started filming another season of “Giuliana & Bill” so we will have 85 episodes completed by the end of the year, which in reality TV that’s like dog years. These things don’t last that long typically.

Q. Do you ever get used to the intrusiveness of having your lives documented?

A. Well, the “Giuliana & Bill” show is a little bit different because Giuliana and I are the executive producers of the show, so certainly we have a lot of control and we have total, I guess if we wanted to, editing power.

But I will say in the seven seasons we’ve done the show we’ve never used our executive producer powers to cut something out. And I guess that’s what is unique about our show. We keep it real. We keep it authentic and we’ve used the show as a platform to try to tackle some heavy issues.

We’ve used it for good and not evil and we’ve tackled breast cancer and infertility and a lot of my work in Haiti. So we’re pretty proud of the way we’ve used our platform and I think we’ve done a pretty good job over the last seven years.

Q. Tell me about your business ventures.

A. Giuliana and I own some restaurants. We have RPM Italian in Chicago, we have RPM Steak opening this fall. And then we’re branching out to Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas so we’re growing our restaurant brand quite a bit. I’m really proud of Giuliana. ... so we’re continuing as a husband-wife team growing our entrepreneurial ventures.

Q. Tell me about this competition for a Super Bowl spot.

A. Essentially what we’re doing is calling for small-business owners to go to the website to submit their story. They get 600 characters to tell us about their business. Then, we turn it over to the 8,000 employees at Intuit and they narrow down the process and eventually we come to the final four. When we get to the final four small-business owners, we turn it over to America and America gets to vote, and in the end one small-business owner will get a fully paid, fully produced commercial that’s going to run in the biggest football game of the year.

Q. After winning the first season of “The Apprentice,” what experience do you bring to the table?

A. Well, I’m a small-business owner. Obviously many people may remember me as the first winner of “The Apprentice” but prior to that I was an entrepreneur.

I started my first business when I was in college. My lucky break was when Donald Trump hired me. So it’s kind of serendipitous.

Now I’m in the position where I’m going to be able to provide a lucky break to a small business owner to showcase their business on the biggest platform in the world with all the big boys, all the automotive companies and the beer companies and all these companies that are on that huge stage.

I’m going to pay my luck forward so it’s really kind of come full circle for me.