Top Actors & Showrunners Ask NBC To Move Donald Trump Town Hall From Slot Opposite ABC’s Joe Biden Special

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More than 100 writers, actors, directors and producers are speaking out against NBC’s plan to air a town hall with President Donald Trump tonight at 8 PM directly opposite the Joe Biden town hall on ABC.

In an open letter to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and NBCU News Group chairman Cesar Conde, the Hollywood heavyweights are asking for the Trump town hall to be shifted from the time slot. The list of those who signed the letter include the creator and cast of NBC’s flagship drama This Is Us, Law & Order: SVU star/exec producer Mariska Hargitay as well as Aaron Sorkin, J.J. Abrams, Ryan Murphy, Greg Berlanti, Ava DuVernay, Seth MacFarlane, Damon Lindelof, Kenya Barris, Phil Lloyd & Chris Miller, Adam McKay, Courtney Kemp, Tom McCarthy, Billy Porter, Seth Rogen, Ben Stiller, Allison Janney, Robert Kirkman, Julianne Moore and Amy Schumer.

Originally, the second Presidential debate was scheduled for tonight. Trump refused to participate when the Presidential Debate Commission switched to a virtual format following the President’s coronavirus diagnosis. ABC quickly slated a Joe Biden town hall in the same slot. After lengthy negotiations, NBC, which made Trump a TV star with The Apprentice, booked him for a town hall airing at exactly the same time, a scheduling decision that has drawn wide criticism and sent #BoycottNBC trending.

“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,” the open letter said. “We believe this kind of indifference to the norms and rules of our democracy are what have brought our country to this perilous state.”

The Hollywood creatives are not arguing that Trump should not receive equal time on NBC after the network recently aired a Joe Biden town hall from the same Florida location.

“We are simply asking that NBC air the President’s town hall either before or after Vice President Biden’s so that American voters can have the opportunity to watch both,” they said in the letter.

UPDATE 9:30 AM: Shortly after the open letter was made public, Conde issued a statement defending the network’s decision and indicating that the Trump town hall won’t be moved.

“We share in the frustration that our event will initially air alongside the first half of ABC’s broadcast with Vice President Biden,” he said. “Our decision is motivated only by fairness, not business considerations. We aired a town hall with Vice President Biden on October 5 at 8 pm. 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. We hope voters will watch both discussions – ours will be available at any time, free and on-demand on YouTube, Peacock and all our digital news platforms.”

Here is the letter from Hollywood A-listers:

To Brian Roberts, Jeff Shell and Cesar Conde:

We are a group of writers, actors, directors and producers. Many of us have been lucky enough to work for NBCUniversal at some point in our careers. Some of us are currently employed at your studio. We have always thought of NBC Universal as both a terrific creative home and a brand that stands for the best in entertainment and broadcast journalism.

This is why we have been devastated to learn that you have chosen to air President Trump’s town hall this Thursday night at 8pm, directly opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall.

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 are simply asking that NBC air the President’s town hall either before or after Vice President Biden’s so that American voters can have the opportunity to watch both.

We understand the necessities of business, especially in this difficult time. But we believe there are larger issues of civic responsibility at stake here.

Signed:

Aaron Sorkin
Abbi Jacobson
Adam McKay
Adam Scott
Alec Baldwin
Alex Barnow
Allison Janney
Allison Tolman
Amy Lippman
Amy Schumer
Aubrey Plaza
Ava DuVernay
Ayelet Waldman
Ben Stiller
Billy Eichner
Billy Porter
Brendan Gall
Chelsea Handler
Chris Bishop
Chris Meloni
Chris Miller
Chris Misiano
Chris Sullivan
Chrissy Metz
Courtney Kemp
Dahvi Waller
Damon Lindelof
Dan Fogelman
Dan Levy
Daniel Hageman
David A. Goodman
David Goyer
David Guggenheim
David Kohan
Debra Messing
Donald Faison
Dule Hill
Ely Henry
Emily Gordon
Eric Guggeheim
Greg Berlanti
JJ Abrams
Jason Moore
Jennifer Yale
Jill Knox
Jim Parriott
Joe Mantello
Jon Cryer
Jon Hamm
Jon Huertas
Josh Gad
Josh Singer
Joshua Malina
Joss Whedon
Julianne Moore
Julie Martin
Julie Plec
Justin Hartley
Keith Powell
Ken Olin
Kenya Barris
Kevin Hageman
Kumail Nanjiani
Laeta Kalogridis
Latoya Morgan
Mandy Moore
Marc Guggenheim
Marjorie David
Mariska Hargitay
Marti Noxon
Martin Gero
Mary McCormack
Matthew Lopez
Max Mutchnick
Michael Chabon
Michael Green
Malcolm Spellman
Michele Fazekas
Milo Ventimiglia
Neal Baer
Nicholas Stoller
Nicole Yorkin
Otmara Marrero
Parvesh Cheena
Patton Oswalt
Phil Lord
Preacher Lawson
Richard Schiff
Robert King
Robert Kirkman
Ryan Murphy
Samuel Baum
Sarah Schechter
Sarah Silverman
Sarah Treem
Seth Grahame-Smith
Seth MacFarlane
Seth Rogen
Shakina Nayfack
Sophia Bush
Sterling K. Brown
Sunil Nayir
Susan Kelechi Watson
Tara Butters
Terry Matalas
Thor Freudenthal
Tom McCarthy
Tony Kushner
Travis Beacham
Vanessa Taylor
Zoe Lister-Jones

A number of NBCU talent, including Paul Feig (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist) and Martin Gero, whose new series Connecting)will follow the trump Town hall on NBC tonight, took to Twitter when the network announced the news special to object to its scheduling, and MSNBC’s top star Rachel Maddow asked Kamala Harris on air Wednesday night if she was “as mad as everybody else” at NBC News over that. Other top celebrities, like Jim Carrey Barbra Streisand, also condemned NBC’s decision.

Conan O’Brien, who was a longtime late-night host at NBC before he was let go after several months on The Tonight Show, took a shot at his former employer:

 

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/10/donald-trump-town-hall-actors-showrunners-ask-nbc-move-slot-opposite-abc-joe-biden-mariska-hargitay-j-j-abrams-ryan-murphy-greg-berlanti-ava-duvernay-seth-macfarlane-damon-lindelof-kenya-1234597879/