NBC has reached agreements with four Republican presidential candidates demanding free airtime to match the 12 minutes given to Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” a person with inside knowledge of the negotiations told TheWrap Monday.
As reported earlier, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore filed requests with NBC stations last week following Trump’s “SNL'” hosting gig on Nov. 7. The network has now reached agreements with four of those candidates, but is still in talks with the Pataki campaign.
“We’re grateful to NBC for providing us additional opportunities to tell the people of New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Iowa more about how Senator Graham is the only candidate in the race ready to be Commander-in-Chief on day one,” a rep for Graham’s campaign told TheWrap.
Under the deal, the candidates will each be allotted time on 18 NBC affiliate stations in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The candidates will receive time during network commercial and promotional blocks during primetime hours on Nov. 27 and 28, as well as during “Saturday Night Live” on Nov. 28
The FCC’s “equal time” rule states that presidential candidates are entitled to equal time for any appearance that does not qualify as a news event. Though candidates are not necessarily entitled to the same platform.
Both Pataki and Graham were bumped off the undercard debate on Fox Business earlier this month 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.
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.