FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Monday, November 9, 2015

(READ/WATCH) Trump Received 12:05 Air Time On SNL; Equal Time Requests Could Fill 2 1/2 Hour Program

Donald Trump received 12 minutes, 5 seconds of air time on this weekend's Saturday Night Live ("SNL") program, according to the equal time notices that NBC stations are uploading into their FCC files.  If all* of Trump's fellow GOP candidates for President asked for equal time, NBC could easily fill a 2 1/2 program.

Trump hosted the long-running satire and comedy program on November 7, and had most of his face time in the opening monologue/bit.  He then appeared sparingly, including a skit portraying an ultra-successful Trump Administration where the American people had, in fact, become tired of "winning".

He also pouted admirably in one of SNL's patented overly-long-near-the-end-of-the-program skits, as a "laser harp" player who was not getting enough solo time because he was always the last band member introduced. Then, all 8 bar patrons left when he started playing.

SNL also took some opportunities to gently skewer the host, particularly during the Weekend Update segment.

Here is the notice that most NBC affiliates will be filing during the next couple of days.  It is the stations themselves that have the equal time requirement, but if any candidates request equal time, it will likely be from multiple stations. Last month, NBC suggested that stations let the network know of any requests, and the network would likely negotiate on behalf of all of them.

Arizona's Politics detailed many of the legal aspects of the current status of the equal time doctrine after the Trump hosting gig was announced.

Democratic candidate Larry Lessig did request equal time from NBC stations in early-voting states and the largest TV markets in the nation, after Hillary Clinton was featured in a skit.  His legal counsel and NBC traded letters on whether he qualified, and negotiations may have taken place.  However, Lessig has since halted his candidacy, mooting his request.

There are 11 other GOP candidates who will be debating (along with Trump) tomorrow, and who could validly claim equal time. At least two others were kicked off the debate stage but could still try to establish their qualifications for the 12:05 of NBC airtime.

Here are the other articles in Arizona's Politics coverage of SNL equal time issues: 

  1.  Breaking the NBC Sunday Morning Memo re: Clinton's appearance: bit.ly/AZp1177
  2.  Breaking the Trump hosting announcement, considering equal time ramifications:bit.ly/AZp1180
  3. "POLITICAL/LEGAL MEMO, To: All GOP Presidential Candidates. Re: 'Equal Time'             Requests":bit.ly/AZp1181
  4. BREAKING (the ice): Hillary Clinton's SNL Appearance Triggers Equal Time Request From Larry Lessig; KPNX Among 47 Stations Nationwide Targeted (READ) http://bit.ly/AZp1185
  5.  (UPDATE) NBC Doubles Amount Of Equal Time That Democratic Presidential Candidates May Be Entitled To, Re-Airing Clinton's SNL Skit bit.ly/AZp1187


*It is unlikely that all - or, even most - will request equal time. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has expressed the most interest, while Ben Carson has said he is uninterested in being on SNL.

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