The scheduling has drawn criticism, including from more than 100 producers, directors and writers who signed their names to a letter urging NBC to move the time of the town hall.
In a statement, Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCU News Group, said, “We share in the frustration that our event will initially air alongside the first half of ABC’s broadcast with Vice President Biden.
“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.”
What is unclear is why the network did not schedule the town hall on another night. Both campaigns keyed in on the date of Oct. 15 after Trump refused to participate in a virtual town hall set up by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The commission then canceled plans.