NBC got a pass from the FCC Friday when the feds ruled that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Oct. 11 appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” did not mean that the network had to grant equal time to the California governor’s opponent, Phil Angelides, according to B&C. Angelides had actually shown up that day outside of NBC’s Burbank headquarters to protest the network’s refusal to grant him free airtime, and filed a formal complaint with the commission. News programs are exempt from equal time rules, but the FCC said that the issue of whether Leno is a news program is irrelevant because, “We note that, in the segment at issue here, the interview addressed topics that included the Governor of California’s views on immigration reform, bipartisan legislative activities in California, and the war in Iraq.” The industry hasn’t exactly warmed up to Angelides, as typical Democratic supporters like Steven Spielberg, Haim Saban and Jeffrey Katzenberg are all backing Schwarzenegger this time around.
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