Time will be allocated on 18 NBC affiliate stations in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina using network commercial and promo time during primetime this coming Friday and Saturday. Network ad and promo time also will be offered during this weekend’s Saturday Night Live broadcast. NBC has come to an agreement with John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, James Gilmore and Lindsey Graham, on each candidate’s equal time requests following Donald Trump’s hosting gig on SNL on November 7, during which he danced to “Hotline Bling,” got called a racist by Bernie Sanders’ doppelganger Larry David, and played the laser harp. NBC execs still are in talks with George Pataki’s campaign about fulfilling its request for equal time.
The candidates had gotten in line for the FCC-mandates equal time handout within seven days of Trump’s osting gig. Execs at NBC television stations, particularly in these three key early-campaign-cycle markets, were in a spectrum of reaction that ran from “lying low” to “fetal position,” while NBC network execs negotiated the “me too” requests made the other GOP hopefuls within the prescribed seven-day window.
Station execs had reported they expected NBC to announce its game plan this week. Technically, the FCC files equal time under Station Issue, but NBC network execs handled the plan to make good on the ones it determines to qualify. NBC had assured station execs the free time would come out of its hide, not the stations’, according to sources on the station side who said that was as it should be, since NBC “created the issue” in the first place by giving the GOP front-runner a hosting gig, rather than a nice simple cameo, as SNL had handed to Dem front-runner Hillary Clinton for its season opener.