White House hopefuls now have seven days to claim the 12 minutes and 5 seconds of free NBC air time after Donald Trump’s hosting gig on Saturday Night Live. NBC stations posted the FCC-required notice this morning, triggering that week-long window. There will be some hoops to jump through: Hopefuls must demonstrate they are a legit candidate in states to which NBC broadcast last weekend’s Saturday Night Live (aka everywhere). And, while they’re entitled to time on some NBC programs, they’re not necessarily guaranteed time on Saturday Night Live. That will be good news for Ben Carson, who has said he would not serve on the show if asked, the office of president being far too serious for such nonsense.
The stations began posting a notice required by Section 73.1943 of the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission:
“Donald Trump, a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in the 2016 national election, appeared without charge on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” for a total period of 12:05 (12 minutes and 5 seconds) commencing at 11:39:11 PM ET on November 7 and ending at 1:01:01AM ET on November 8, 2015.”
NBC stations similarly posted the notice after Hillary Clinton’s un-announced guest appearance on SNL last month though, in that case, candidates only were entitled to about 3 minutes. And, of course, that notice did not make headlines.
The Trump guest-gig was well worth it for NBC, SNL having, like other TV broadcasts on which he has appeared, enjoyed “The Trump Bump.” According to early stats, the show clocked its best early household ratings in four years and best early demo rating in two years.