Donald Trump’s 12 minute, five second appearance on “Saturday Night Live” has elicited equal time requests from Mike Huckabee and Jim Gilmore, adding to the list of rivals who are seeking equivalent exposure from NBC and its affiliates.
George Pataki, John Kasich and Lindsey Graham have each requested time from the network or certain affiliates, largely those with a broadcast audience in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Trump’s rivals only had a seven-day window after his appearance to make the requests, but the list of campaigns has grown in recent days as more stations post request letters in their public files with the FCC.
The network is reviewing the requests and will deal directly with each campaign. NBC is not obligated to put each candidate on “Saturday Night Live.” Campaigns instead are likely to seek a comparable time period with a comparable audience, or even time given in the form of 30-second commercial spots.
Dale Woods, general manager of WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa, said that they have received requests from Kasich, Pataki, Graham and Huckabee. He said that NBC was dealing with the requests. He also said that time given to rival candidates would come out of the network’s time.
Gilmore’s campaign filed at least one request with an NBC affiliate in Greenville, S.C. In a letter to the station, the campaign’s senior advisor Boyd Marcus wrote that Gilmore was a legally qualified candidate in that state, one of the requirements before the network or station would grant a request.
Marcus also argued that “Saturday Night Live” would not fall under any of the exemptions, which include news programming and news interviews.
“A candidate’s appearance on the show is to entertain, not to provide bona fide news coverage to the public,” he wrote.