More than 100 actors, directors, writers and producers are protesting NBC News’ decision to hold a town hall with President Trump on Thursday night at the same time as a previously scheduled Joe Biden event on ABC News, according to a report.
In an open letter, the Hollywood crowd assailed NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, NBCU News Group Chairman Cesar Conde and Brian Roberts, head of NBCU parent Comcast, that the network is allowing Trump to “counterprogram” his Democratic rival at 8 p.m., the Wall Street Journal reported.
Last week, ABC booked Biden for Thursday, originally the date of the second presidential debate, which was canceled after Trump tested positive for the coronavirus and refused to participate in a virtual format.
On Wednesday, NBC announced its presidential get, with “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie moderating outdoors in Miami.
“By agreeing to air his town hall as counterprogramming opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall on ABC, you are enabling the President’s bad behavior while undercutting the Presidential Debate Commission and doing a disservice to the American public,” the open letter reads, according to Deadline.
“We believe this kind of indifference to the norms and rules of our democracy are what have brought our country to this perilous state,” it says.
“We are simply asking that NBC air the President’s town hall either before or after Vice President Biden’s so that American voters can have the opportunity to watch both.”
The list of signees includes “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman and cast members Sterling K. Brown, Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia.
In addition, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” Executive Producer Neal Baer, producer Ryan Murphy, actor-producer Ben Stiller and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane signed the letter.
An NBC News rep told the Wall Street Journal that the network programmed the president at 8 p.m. because it had given the same slot to the former veep in a previous town hall and it wanted to keep things equal between the two candidates.
Also, starting the event at 9 p.m. would still have conflicted with the ABC event, which lasts for 90 minutes, while NBC’s is one hour.
NBC News tried to persuade ABC News to carry its town hall later in the night, but the request was denied, two people familiar with the matter told the news outlet.
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