"I can’t remember the last time I was this shocked by an NBC programming decision," tweeted Conan O'Brien, one of many stars to sign a petition protesting NBC's timing of tonight's town hall. The petition's signees include Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Barbra Streisand, Greg Berlanti, J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Dan Fogelman, Seth Rogen, Mariska Hargitay, Debra Messing, Ben Stiller and many more big names. They are using the Twitter hashtag #NBCBlackout. Following all the criticism, NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde issued a statement saying the decision to air the Trump town hall at the same time as the Biden town hall wasn't a business decision. “We share in the frustration that our event will initially air alongside the first half of ABC’s broadcast with Vice President Biden," said Conde. "Our decision is motivated only by fairness, not business considerations. We aired a town hall with Vice President Biden on October 5 at 8pm. 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."
President Trump slams NBC and mocks moderator Savannah Guthrie ahead of tonight's town hall: “So you know I’m being set up tonight,” Trump said at a campaign rally in North Carolina. “I’m doing this town hall with Concast, C-O-N, con, cause it’s a con job...It’s NBC, the worst. Home of Sleepy-Eyed Chuck Todd and some others...I figured, what the hell, we get a free hour on television." Trump also mocked Guthrie, saying sarcastically: “She’s always lovely, isn’t she?”
The View blasts NBC's decision: “I’m disappointed that this is happening,” said Ana Navarro. “I’m disappointed we are not having a presidential debate because Donald Trump refused to engage in a virtual debate. I’m disappointed that another network has given him the ability to take his toys and go home, and then have the ability to do this. It feels like a spoiled child is being given his way.” Joy Behar added: “I think NBC is all in for Trump as they were with The Apprentice."
CNN's Don Lemon blasts the "outright embarrassing ratings ploy": "How does that help the American people?" he said. "How does that inform the electorate, by putting those two people on at the same time and making people choose from one to the other? And don’t give me that BS about ‘well, you can tape one.’ That’s not what this is about. This is an outright embarrassing ratings ploy on behalf of NBC. And I am shocked and surprised that they would allow the president of the United States to do their programming and manipulate them into doing this. It is embarrassing."