NBC has started offering Republican presidential candidates free air time next week to match the 12 minutes given to Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”
Under the FCC’s “equal time” rules, candidates have the right to request equal airtime when it has been given to their political opponent.
John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore, had filed requests with NBC stations last week following Trump’s “SNL'” appearance on November 7.
Graham and Pataki have been offered 12 minutes on their requested stations during the 9 p.m. hour on Friday, November 27, as well as 12 minutes during the “Saturday Night Live” broadcast on Saturday, November 28.
The Graham campaign sent its request to stations in Iowa and New Hampshire. The Pataki campaign’s request went to stations in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and New York.
Under FCC rules the candidates are not allowed to choose where they appear, which means SNL is likel off the table.
It’s still unclear is any specific offers have been extended to the Kasich, Huckabee and Gilmore campaigns.
The Kasich campaign had requested equal time from both the network and all the affiliates that aired Trump’s appearance — effectively asking for rights to a national broadcast.
The candidates are technically guaranteed time on some type of program that does not qualify as a news event.