NBC To Give Candidates Equal Time Due To Trump SNL Appearance

Trump SNL

At least five of Donald Trump’s opponents will be getting free time on NBC stations to counterbalance the time the Trump received when he hosted Saturday Night Live earlier this month:

NBC viewers in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina should be prepared to see a lot of four Republican presidential candidates over the Thanksgiving weekend.

After Donald J. Trump hosted “Saturday Night Live” this month, several of his Republican rivals filed complaints about receiving equal airtime. So NBC has granted the campaigns of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, Mike Huckabee, James Gilmore and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina their specific equal-airtime requests.

This does not mean that a coming “S.N.L.” episode will be hosted by any of the candidates. Nor will there even be a cameo.

What it does entail will be the use of commercial and promotional airtime in prime time this weekend, including during “Saturday Night Live,” when a re-run will be broadcast.

Still at the negotiating table is George E. Pataki, the former governor of New York, who also filed a complaint requesting equal airtime.

Each of the candidates will get approximately twelve minutes, which matches the time that Trump was on the air over the course of the SNL broadcast itself. As many observers noted, that was less time that host of the show typically get since producers typically like to use their star power of their guest host as much as possible. Whether there were instructions from above to limit Trump’s time on the air given the inevitable requests for “equal time” that would result from the show is something we may never know, but the possibility of that being the case shouldn’t be discounted.

So far, there’s no word on whether any candidates other than those mentioned in this report will be asking for equal time under this agreement. If they do, NBC will likely grant it, though.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Gustopher says:

    They really should drag them all to NY to do a fake debate skit. They’ve got the entire undercard/kiddie-table debate cast, don’t they? Add in a few actual clowns, and maybe a mime, and let the others play it straight.

  2. Tyrell says:

    Ridiculous. weird, bizarre. Just put them all on “Dancing With the Stars “