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Trump, Biden Town Halls Beg the Question: How Do You Spell NBC? F-O-X
All I wanted to do was kick back… relax… and bask in the news that Dexter was returning to Showtime to hopefully pry itself out of the position of having the worst series finale since mankind began quantifying those sorts of things. So leave it to Trump to go and f*ck that up, too.
Except… let me back up. It's actually not "The Worst President in The History of the United States of America (Because At Least Nixon Opened Relations with China)!" that I take issue with. It's Trump's abused and enabled partner NBCU (or NBC, NBC News, etc.,) that's been making that little vein near my right eye throb with righteous indignation since they decided to wade into Presidential Debates debate with money signs in their eyes and their hat out for a fat payday.
Here's the background: Karma has a wonderful sense of humor so Trump got COVID and since that time we haven't seen any legit medical proof that he's clean yet (calendar doesn't match up). So the Commission on Presidential Debates decided to schedule a virtual debate for this week between Trump and Joe Biden as a way of not letting Trump be more of a superspreader than he's already been. Trump threw a pissy fit and withdrew, so Biden said he'd go with a town hall run by the Commission- but the Commission decided they were done with this sh*t for this week and pulled the plug. ABC stepped in to hold a town hall for the person who actually played by the rules both sides agreed upon from the start. Well, apparently NBC didn't feel like they should be left out on what could one of the last remaining money grabs for broadcast television before it shuffles off the technological coil. So what did they do? They not only agreed to give Trump a town hall on the same night as Biden's but… wait for it… they're running Trump's at the same time!
Shocked and surprised? Why? This is just the next chapter in that abusive relationship that just drags on and on and on and on to the point where you have to admit you wouldn't shed a tear if you heard there was an unfortunate gas leak while they slept. For 14 seasons, NBC and Trump's "best-est buddy" Mark Burnett sold the business failure as some sort of "successful billionaire" with The Apprentice– and it worked. But what about Saturday Night Live? They hold Trump's feet to the fire- right? Yes, if you forget that SNL gave Trump the stage to host before the 2016 election – and if we believe ex-SNL cast member Taran Killam (who could be committing career suicide speaking out), series creator Lorne Michaels wanted the team to go soft and not portray him in too bad a light. And let's not forget just how friendly MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were with Trump before they became #NeverTrump.
So is it shocking and surprising? No, but it is disgusting. Primarily, because NBCU thinks we're stupid- and that's the most annoying part. Want to be greedy, soulless sh*tbags who would throw the well-being of this nation into the fiery pits of Hell for a few rating points and sweet demo representation? Girl, then you be you! But own it. If you want to take FOX News to the dance Thursday night then be proud- just remember that you dance with the date you brought. You have to own it. I just can't have NBC pretending they're coming at this out of some sense of fairness and that their "hands are tied" on some moral high ground.
What NBC News Group chairman Cesar Conde Says: "We share in the frustration that our event will initially air alongside the first half of ABC's broadcast with Vice President Biden. Our decision is motivated only by fairness, not business considerations."
"Variety" Reports: "NBC and ABC hope to take in hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue from their 8 p.m. town-hall broadcasts, pressing for an average cost of $198,000 for 30-second commercials adjacent to the events. ABC and NBC declined to make executives available for comment, and it was not immediately clear if NBC was seeking additional money for simulcasts of its event on MSNBC and CNBC, or offering a package of inventory across all three networks."
What NBC News Group chairman Cesar Conde Says: "We aired a town hall with Vice President Biden on October 5 at 8 pm. If we were to move our town hall with President Trump to a later timeslot we would be violating our commitment to offer both campaigns access to the same audience and the same forum. We hope voters will watch both discussions — ours will be available at any time, free and on-demand on YouTube, Peacock, and all our digital news platforms."
Bleeding Cool Counters: You're not "being fair" by rewarding the person who decided to blow up the agreed-upon debate process because he's probably sicked than they're letting on (B) he got his ass handed to him in the first one (with Pence so not there that he got upstaged by a fly). You have absolutely no obligation whatsoever, except to pad some bank accounts. Looks like we know what the reward is for "good deeds": over a quarter-million for a one-minute ad for The General.
So what can you do as a viewer? The obvious answer is to not tune in to anything NBC or NBCU on Thursday night – including MSNBC and especially social media. Tune into Biden's town hall tonight, talk it up on social media, and spread the word. But if you really want NBCU and Comcast to get the message? Cancel your Peacock accounts, because the big bosses are getting ready to abandon broadcast for streaming anyway. Also, unfollow and disconnect from NBCU-related social media accounts so they feel the pain in that regard, too. Companies make major green off of how well they can sell a show or a network based on its social media strength, so cut their Achilles' Pet Semetary-style.
As for what NBC can do? Nothing. Too late. You've undercut a news division that's been struggling to maintain legitimacy. MSNBC? Sorry, but I can't help feeling like you could've done more. When SNL kicks in this weekend? Sure, I'll laugh at Alec Baldwin, Jim Carrey, Maya Rudolph, and Beck Bennett– but not because it's biting political satire or some kind of "bold takedown" of Trump. It'll be because of the impressions – which are still thankfully better than the imitation of itself that NBC has become.