Before appearing on the show, Sam says he was just the guy next door. "There's something about the instant gratification of having appeared on television. I found the camera seductive," he confesses. "Here I am this regular guy, and then the next thing, I'm showing up at the Playboy Mansion, and I've got Jack Nicholson behind me in a terry cloth robe.
Shortly after The Apprentice premiered, Sam started having mood swings. "I still said yes to television shows calling me, but after that appearance was over, I felt incredibly empty. I found myself spending an awful lot of time in my home. I no longer wanted to see my friends. I started to no longer trust my decision making. It was my dream to have my own radio talk show. After The Apprentice, NBC said, 'You can have your show,' and I turned it down. Suddenly, it didn't hold the allure, because I had been on a show with 20 million viewers."
Sam wonders if he'll be able to evade the siren song of success. "If [Executive Producer] Mark Burnett called me tomorrow and said, â€˜Sam, I'd like you to appear on The Apprentice All-Stars,' I'd like to think that I could say, â€˜No, thank you, Mark,' but I don't know for sure," he says.
"You said that by the time the show started airing, you were already feeling different," Dr. Phil notes.
"You said you started having mood swings. You started really feeling empty after you would do these media hits," Dr. Phil says.
"It was very exciting at the moment, but after each [media event], I'd get home and go back to doing what I was doing. You start to think, â€˜Jeez, was it really worth going on this talk show or that talk show?' It just left me feeling, as you said, empty. I didn't feel worthy of the attention," Sam divulges.
"If they called with an all-star show, would you do it again?"
"I'd like to think no. No," Sam says, then falters. "But see, that's the seduction of the camera."
Lori adds, "I think there was a point where it lured him more, but now I think you're really at a point where you want to move on, and you wouldn't go back to that opportunity."
Sam has some words of advice for the previous guest, Brian. "I had 20 million viewers looking at me every week. We were the number one show. I'll tell you, it's not what it's cracked up to be. You have this vision of what you think it's going
Noting that Brian has expressed a desire for acting, Sam says, "Go pursue it, and go after that. If you get famous, so be it. That's great. Putting yourself on there as a virgin who wants to lose his virginity, don't do it. You have nothing to gain."
Perry says, "Sam, do you feel like by putting yourself out there, you were at risk of destroying what it was that you'd become?"
"The movie American Cannibal is basically about this, about how people will gobble each other up as entertainment," Perry says.
Michael says, "You became a disposable celebrity."
"Fortunately, I had Lori," Sam says. He turns to Brian in the audience "I'd like to know where your support network is. Where are your parents?" he admonishes. "Where are the people to say, â€˜This is insane. Don't do this.'"
"At some point, it ends. Everything ends. The fame, at some point, will end," Sam says. "It's hard because there's something seductive about it and alluring, and it's the instant gratification."
Lori says, "I think that's what helped Sam so much is he did have his family, and myself, and close friends and a support network. If you don't have that to ground you, it can really derail you."