GOP Candidates Demand Equal Time After Donald Trump Hosts ‘SNL’ While Hispanic Lawmakers Still Stew

Donald Trump’s “Hotline Bling” dance still reverberates across the NBC landscape.

Execs at NBC television stations are in a spectrum of reaction that runs from “lying low” to “fetal position,” lisademoraescolumn__140603223319depending on which station, while NBC network execs negotiate “me too” requests made other GOP hopefuls after Trump’s controversial Saturday Night Live appearance. Within the prescribed seven-day window, Lindsey Graham, Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki and John Kasich all got in line for the FCC-mandated equal-time handout after Trump’s November 7 hosting of the late-night show. Station execs say they expect NBC to announce to them next week what is its game plan for the Republican candidates’ equal time filings in the wake of Trump’s 12-minute, 5-second starring turn, during which he danced to “Hotline Bling,” got called a racist
by Bernie Sanders’ doppelganger Larry David and played the laser harp.

Although technically the FCC files equal time under Station Issue, NBC network execs are handling the GOP candidates’ equal-time requests and how to make good on the ones it determines to qualify. NBC also has said the free time will come out of its hide, not the stations’, according to sources on the station side. They add that’s 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. Hardest hit are NBC stations in the presidential election cycle’s early-impact states, including Iowa, where Des Moines affiliate WHO-TV publicly has posted requests from Pataki, Graham, Kasich and Huckabee.

NBC News logo Meanwhile, NBC News execs may be in duck-and-cover mode too, after yesterday’s meeting with Hispanic lawmakers still steamed about Trump’s SNL gig. At the meeting, NBC News hoped to showcase progress they’d made integrating NBC News with NBCU-owned Telemundo. But the meeting slid off the rails when news division president Deborah Turness hispandered to the politicians with a line or two of Spanish, according to Politico, and used the slur “illegals” to describe NBC News’ coverage of a girl who spoke to Pope Francis about her undocumented-immigrant parents.

Word of the bungled meeting cast something of a pall over this morning’s not-coincidental announcement that Telemundo and MSNBC anchor Jose Diaz-Balart had been added to the rotation of NBC Nightly News‘ Saturday edition anchors – and Telemundo president Luis Silberwasser’s statement that the promotion is “testimony to what the NBCUniversal properties can achieve when we work together.” Diaz-Balart also will be a panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press, and the promotion had been among NBC’s talking points at yesterday’s strained meeting.

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