- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - As a TV star turned presidential hopeful, billionaire developer Donald Trump was a regular topic of discussion at the just-concluded Television Critics Association gathering. NBC also took the opportunity to officially fire him from “The Celebrity Apprentice” after cutting ties with him earlier this summer when the network refused to air the Miss USA pageant because of Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants.

A few of the observations and wisecracks from industry presenters at this semiannual conference attended by television critics and reporters:

STEPHEN COLBERT (who premieres as host of CBS’ “The Late Show” on Sept. 8):

“Every night I light a candle that he stays in the race until Sept. 8. I also hope that nobody gets that candle too close to his hair.”

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JAY LENO (star of CNBC’s upcoming “Jay Leno’s Garage”):

Noting the battle for the GOP nomination being waged between Jeb Bush and Trump, Leno said, “It’s kind of like the race between the tortoise and the bad hair.”

And recalling that a medical problem in his youth landed Trump a military deferment, Leno offered his own diagnosis: “He had an intrarectal cranial inversion: His head was up his ass.”

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BOB GREENBLATT (chairman of NBC Entertainment):

When a reporter suggested during the question-and-answer session with Greenblatt, “We should play a drinking game and see how many questions there are about Donald Trump,” Greenblatt cracked, “We could do that in life.”

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DONNY DEUTSCH (star of the upcoming USA series “Donny!”):

“He is going to be a big factor in this (race), one way or another, and he loves that. And that’s what he’s about,” said Deutsch. Then, citing the Oscar-winning screenwriter of the 1976 media satire “Network,” he added, “Paddy Chayefsky could not have written this. It is theater of the absurd.”

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SHONDA RHIMES (multifaceted TV producer) and ELLEN POMPEO (ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”):

Asked how Trump might be handled by Washington power broker Olivia Pope of ABC’s “Scandal,” the series’ creator, Rhimes, mused, “Do you think she would tell him to do something about the hair?” That spurred Pompeo, star of Rhimes’ hospital drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” to propose referring Trump to her character, Dr. Meredith Grey: “I could cut his vocal cords out.”

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JOHN DICKERSON (CBS News Political Director):

“I think that the phenomenon of Trump is outside of Trump. There is a group of people (who have) lacked a vehicle and a candidate who speaks for them and the rage they have…”

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BUTCH GILLIAM (a star of CNBC’s upcoming “West Texas Investors Club”):

“The trouble with Donald Trump is that his thoughts turn into words.”

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