It was only a matter of time.
Three Republican presidential candidates have filed a request under FCC’s “Equal Time” rule, demanding that NBC stations in key early voting states set aside the same amount of time for each of them that Donald Trump got when he hosted “Saturday Night Live” on November 7.
Former New York Gov. George Pataki sent a request to 16 NBC affiliates, including stations in New England, South Carolina, Iowa and his home state of New York.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham filed a request to NBC affiliates in Iowa, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich has asked for airtime in Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Both Pataki and Graham were bumped off the undercard debate on Fox Business last week after failing to secure the minimum one percent required to be invited to the so-called “kids table.” The NBC affiliate request could help them get some of the airtime lost due to low poll numbers.
Broadcast and radio stations are required under federal law to offer equivalent airtime to candidates to appear on non-news programs during an election cycle.
According to NBC’s tally, Trump’s “SNL” gig added up to a total of 12 minutes and five seconds of onscreen time. Opposing candidates then had seven days following Trump’s SNL episode to request that amount of time on NBC stations.
Iowa and New Hampshire are key early voting states. The Iowa caucuses are set for Feb. 1 and the New Hampshire primary is a week later on Feb. 9.
The Kasich, Pataki and Graham campaigns did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.