More than 100 Hollywood insiders have signed a letter to NBC, urging the network to reschedule President Donald Trump’s town hall.
Actors, directors, producers and showrunners sent a petition to NBCUniversal and executives at parent company Comcast, protesting the timing of Trump’s town hall on Thursday evening, which is currently scheduled to air at the same time as Joe Biden’s town hall on ABC.
In the letter obtained by The Wrap, public figures including Ava DuVernay, J.J. Abrams, Kenya Barris, Aaron Sorkin and several cast members of NBC’s popular drama series This Is us, urged Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, NBCUniversal chairman Jeff Shell and NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde to move the town hall.
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“We have always thought of NBCUniversal 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 8 p.m., directly opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall,” the letter stated. “This is not a partisan issue. This is about the political health of our democracy.”
After President Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate previously scheduled for tonight with Biden, both nominees chose to hold their own town hall events. ABC first announced it would host Biden’s event for Thursday at 8 p.m. Then NBC and Trump followed suit at the same time.
“President Trump refused to participate in the virtual debate scheduled for Thursday night by the Presidential Debate Commission,” the letter said. “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.”
NBC has however stated that it will air the town hall as scheduled.
NBCUniversal News Group chairman Conde said in a statement Thursday: “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,” he said. “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.”
Read the full letter to NBC here.