Jimmy Kimmel blasts Trump’s town hall and NBC’s ‘sneaky move’
NBC faced a backlash before, during and after airing a town hall Thursday with President Trump, which Jimmy Kimmel swiftly skewered on his late-night program.
On Thursday’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the comedian slammed his rival network for pulling “a very sneaky move after Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate” and Biden scheduled a town hall with ABC, which broadcasts Kimmel’s talk show.
Trump’s and Biden’s town halls both began at 5 p.m. Pacific Thursday, prompting many critics to accuse NBC of forcing voters to choose between one event or the other.
“They swooped in and gave him his own hour opposite Joe Biden,” Kimmel said during his opening monologue. “Many are wondering why NBC would schedule this at the same time as Biden’s town hall instead of on another night — or even just in another time slot — so we could see what both candidates have to say.
“The answer to the question is: NBC sucks. A real Peacock block is what it was.”
Thursday’s town hall events in lieu of a canceled presidential debate will air at the same time, prompting criticism that “this is a bad decision.”
ABC and NBC aired their “dueling town halls” after Trump would not agree to debate the former vice president remotely, despite testing positive and being hospitalized for COVID-19 earlier this month.
“Good Morning America” host and former White House communications director George Stephanopoulos moderated the Biden town hall, while “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie interviewed the president.
“Joe Biden took questions from voters in Philadelphia. Trump, again, was in Florida,” Kimmel continued. “And even though they were 1,000 miles apart, I kept fantasizing about a surprise WrestleMania moment where Biden runs out behind Trump and bangs him over the head with a folding chair, but that didn’t happen.
“Savannah Guthrie was the moderator tonight, which is a role she also played back in 2016 when then-candidate Donald Trump did his first town hall with NBC. And this is funny: This is what Donald Trump told Savannah and Matt Lauer four very long years ago.”
“This is an outright embarrassing ratings ploy on behalf of NBC,” CNN anchor Don Lemon says of the network’s plan to air a Trump town hall Thursday.
Cue the 2016 clip of Trump promising the once-cohosts of “Today” that “at the right time, I will be so presidential, you will be so bored” and insisting, “I know when to be presidential.”
“Oh, OK,” Kimmel quipped. “When? ... Maybe we can get a little bit of that going before you leave?”
Prior to the tandem telecasts, more than 100 actors, producers, directors and other major Hollywood figures signed a petition calling for NBC to reschedule its town hall with Trump. And during the events, many more participated in a #NBCBlackout on social media, discouraging millions of followers from boosting NBC’s ratings by watching Trump.
Even the president himself took a dig at “Fake @NBCNews” on Twitter hours before the network welcomed him onto the stage.
“Trump spent a lot of this afternoon cryptically claiming that NBC was setting him up with this town hall,” Kimmel said. “It was a beautiful reunion. Seeing him back in prime time was like taking a time machine back to 2004 when he was just a blowhard reality TV host and nothing more.”
By allowing President Trump to call the shots that unraveled the second debate, NBC and the debate commission were left as most enablers are: holding the bag.
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.