Several actors and producers on NBC dramas have signed a petition asking the network to reschedule its planned airing of President Donald Trump’s live event tonight.
Law & Order: SVU‘s Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman and many of his cast members and former Blindspot/current Connecting executive producer Martin Gero are among the letter’s signatories, THR.com reports.
They join other big Hollywood names — such as J.J. Abrams, Ava duVernay, Greg Berlanti, Aaron Sorkin and Damon Lindelof — who are protesting the network’s decision to air Trump’s event at the same time as presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a similar town hall on ABC.
Trump and Biden originally planned to engage in their second in-person debate this evening. But after Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Oct. 2 and spent several days at Walter Reed military hospital, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates changed the format to a virtual meet-up. Trump then pulled out of the event, and Biden agreed to answer voter questions at an ABC event. The president later agreed to hold his own town hall on NBC. The Peacock network’s decision to schedule Trump’s town hall at the same time as Biden’s ABC event (8/7c) drew instant criticism when it was announced earlier this week.
The protest letter is addressed to NBCUniversal chairman Jeff Shell, NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde and Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. It says that the signatories were “devastated” to learn about the conflicting scheduling and maintained that “this is not a partisan issue. This is about the political health of our democracy.”
It continues: “By agreeing to air his town hall as counterprogramming opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall on ABC, you are enabling the President’s bad behavior while undercutting the Presidential Debate Commission and doing a disservice to the American public.”
In addition to the aforementioned signatories, the letter also bears the names of: This Is Us stars Sterling K. Brown, Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Justin Hartley, Chris Sullivan, Chrissy Metz, Susan Kelechi Watson and Jon Huertas; Power co-creator Courtney Kemp; Will & Grace vet Debra Messing; The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin; uberproducer Greg Berlanti; black-ish creator Kenya Barris; Legends of Tomorrow EP Marc Guggenheim; The Vampire Diaries EP Julie Plec and Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon.
Read the full text of the letter at THR.com.