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NBC responds to internal tumult over Trump town hall’s scheduling opposite Biden on ABC: ‘We hope voters will watch both discussions’

More than 100 prominent actors, writers and producers are protesting the NBC News decision to carry a town hall meeting with President Trump on Thursday night opposite a previously scheduled Joe Biden town hall on rival ABC News.

The Margin:Dueling Trump and Biden town halls spur NBC protests


‘[W]e 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.’


— Cesar Conde, chairman, NBCUniversal News Group

In a letter to NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Shell, NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde and Brian Roberts, chief executive of NBCU parent Comcast Corp.
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the group said the decision to give Trump such a platform after his refusal to debate Biden is “enabling the president’s bad behavior while undercutting the Presidential Debate Commission and doing a disservice to the American public.”

The dueling town halls came about after the Commission on Presidential Debates canceled the previously scheduled Oct. 15 debate between Messrs. Trump and Biden after the president’s positive test for the coronavirus. The Commission wanted to hold the debate virtually but Mr. Trump’s camp rejected that format.

The letter doesn’t criticize NBC for putting the president on its airwaves, but rather that the network is allowing Trump to “counterprogram” his rival.

“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,” the letter said.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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