One of the interesting wrinkles in NBC’s decision to let noted fact-creator and presidential candidate Donald Trump host Saturday Night Live was the FCC’s so-called “equal-time rule,” which requires radio and television stations to give opposing political candidates the same amount of free airtime. The twist is that the rule only applies at the local level, so NBC as a whole doesn’t need to worry about it, just NBC affiliates in the specific states where candidates request equal time. Still, people without anything better to do patiently waited with stopwatches in hand to see just how much screen time Trump would get on SNL, with the final total coming out to about 12 minutes.
Now, according to Variety, NBC has reached agreements with John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, James Gilmore, and Lindsey Graham, all of whom are presumably real presidential candidates that everybody would be more familiar with if they had the brand recognition and tasteful baseball hat of a guy like Trump. As per the agreement, those guys will each get 12 minutes of NBC’s primetime schedule in 18 affiliates throughout Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina over November 27 and 28—including time on Saturday Night Live. Instead of mugging their way through comedy skits, though, the candidates will most likely be using their time to air campaign ads or maybe do that thing where they’re sitting in a comfy chair on a fake living room set, surrounded by actors playing their family, and then they say something meaningless about how they will make America even greater than it already is (through war and tax cuts).
Presidential candidate George Pataki, who also requested equal time, is still working out a deal with NBC. It’s probably taking longer because the network has to Google “George Pataki” to see if he’s a real guy.