Trump Labels CBS Boss Moonves 'Over-Rated'

Thu January 15, 2004 02:20 AM ET

By Scott Collins
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Donald Trump can't stop tweaking CBS boss Leslie Moonves.

At a Wednesday appearance before television critics in Hollywood to promote his NBC reality show "The Apprentice," Trump continued his recent feud with Moonves, whom he dubbed "the most highly overrated person in television."

"If Les Moonves was a contestant on ('Apprentice'), he would have been fired by the third episode," Trump told reporters, who responded to the broadsides with a mixture of gasps and nervous laughter.

"I want to keep this noncontroversial," he added with a smile.

Asked for comment, a CBS spokesman said, "Donald is always good for a chuckle, but we'll pass on responding."

Earlier this week, Trump criticized Moonves on the NBC show "Access Hollywood," suggesting that he should be fired from his CBS post.

Trump's anger evidently stems from CBS' decision to pass on renewing Miss Universe and two other beauty pageants owned by the real estate mogul. Coincidentally, Trump owns the New York building from which CBS broadcasts "The Early Show."

Trump's remarks put "Apprentice" executive producer Mark Burnett, who shared the dais, in an awkward position. Burnett also is the executive producer of "Survivor," which has run on CBS since 2000.