NBC Won't Move Trump Town Hall Despite Protests From Mariska Hargitay, 'This Is Us' Cast
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden were supposed to face off in their second primetime debate on Thursday, but now they'll face off instead in separate town halls, at the same time.
When it was announced that the second presidential debate would be going virtual (following Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis), the president refused to participate. Then ABC announced a town hall with Biden for Thursday at 8/7c. Soon after, NBC News announced its own conversation with Trump, for the same day and time.
Many have spoken out in protest that NBC didn't schedule Trump's following Biden's so that people could watch both, including a group of showrunners, producers, and stars in a letter to Comcast and NBCUniversal executives. But NBC News has announced that the town hall will not be moved, The Wrap reports.
"Our decision is motivated only by fairness, not business considerations. We aired a town hall with Vice President Biden on October 5 at 8pm," Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCU News Group, said in a statement. "If we were to move our town hall with President Trump to a later timeslot we would be violating our commitment to offer both campaigns access to the same audience and the same forum."
In the letter from Hollywood talent including Law & Order: SVU's Mariska Hargitay, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman and cast members, Courtney Kemp, Ryan Murphy, they write: "This is not a partisan issue. This is about the political health of our democracy. President Trump refused to participate in the virtual debate scheduled for Thursday night by the Presidential Debate Commission. 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.
"We believe this kind of indifference to the norms and rules of our democracy are what have brought our country to this perilous state. ... We understand the necessities of business, especially in this difficult time," it continues. "But we believe there are larger issues of civic responsibility at stake here." Read the full letter and see all those who have signed here.
Joe Biden Town Hall, Thursday, October 15, 8/7c, ABC
Decision 2020: Trump Town Hall, Thursday, October 15, 8/7c, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC News NOW, Telemundo's digital platforms