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Why NBC is getting lots of grief about its Trump town hall

October 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

When NBC set out to schedule a television town hall with President Trump, the top priorities were safety and parity with Trump's challenger Joe Biden.

New York (CNN Business)When NBC set out to schedule a television town hall with President Trump, the top priorities were safety and parity with Trump's challenger Joe Biden.

But there is one big difference: ABC already announced it will be holding a town hall with Biden at the same time on the same night.

The dueling town halls will air Thursday at 8 p. m. Eastern time, on the same night that the Commission on Presidential Debates was originally scheduled to hold a town hall-style debate between Trump and Biden.

ABC's offer to Biden and NBC's offer to Trump both loomed large when the bipartisan debate commission -- under pressure to enforce Covid-19 safety standards -- announced on October 8 that its planned town hall-style debate on October 15 would be held virtually.

The Biden campaign said Biden was still willing to debate, but aides lined up a backup option: a town hall on ABC.

On the evening of Friday the 9th, Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said Trump had his own town hall in the works: "We're actually going to be on multiple networks at the same time" as Biden, Miller said, adding, "We're gonna have a much bigger audience than Joe. "

Although Miller said Trump's town hall would take place "at the same time," ABC had not yet announced its Biden town hall time slot.

Executives at NBC expected that ABC would schedule Biden at 9 p. m. , since ABC's Trump town hall had started at 9, and it seemed logical.

ABC is also going to run a half hour of analysis after the Biden event from 9:30 until 10 p. m. NBC News could have decided to move the Trump town hall to 9, 9:30 or 10 p. m. , but went with parity to the Biden event instead, which meant an 8 p. m. start time.

When NBC announced its Trump forum on Wednesday, the press release said the "one-hour town hall will follow the same format and will air in the time slot" as Biden's did.

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