- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 12, 2015

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Donny Deutsch says pal Donald Trump may have failed to think through his presidential bid but likely enjoys stirring up the race.

Deustch, a former CNBC host who appeared with Trump on “The Apprentice,” was asked at a TV critics’ meeting Wednesday what he would say to the billionaire GOP candidate. Deutsch was promoting his new USA channel comedy.

“I would say, ‘Dude, do you really know what you’ve gotten yourself into?’ I don’t know that he’s really thought it through,” Deutsch said.

That said, Trump will be a factor in the race, said Deutsch, who described him as a friend.

“At the very least, he’s gonna be a kingmaker,” he said. If Trump runs in the general election as an independent candidate, he will hand the race to the Democrats, Deutsch suggested.

“He’s going to be a very big factor, and he loves it,” he said, adding, “I know Donald well enough to know he’s just having fun.”

Things could get even more interesting if people “poke” at Trump, Deutsch said, citing Trump’s post-Fox News Channel debate clash with Fox moderator Megyn Kelly.

Deutsch, who hosted CNBC’s “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” is taking on the role of sitcom actor in USA’s “donny!,” which the channel describes as a “soft-scripted” comedy that satirizes modern life and the media. It debuts Nov. 10.

While other actors in the show follow the script, Deutsch has the freedom to improvise as he plays a fictional version of himself, a wealthy New Yorker who’s charming but arrogant.

“He wants to take over the talk show world. He wants to be the guy people are talking about,” executive producer Angie Day said of his character.

“I’m more of an idiotic version of myself,” but one with the kind of affluence that he’s lucky enough to enjoy in real life, Deutsch said.

Guest stars will include Christie Brinkley, Regis Philbin and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

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