The Brief: The hashtag #NBCBlackout started trending on Twitter as people criticize NBC and call for a boycott because the network plans to air Trump's town hall at the same time as Biden's on Oct. 15.


On Oct. 15, the hashtag #NBCBlackout was trending on Twitter as people including NBC stars and prominent public figures called for a boycott of the network. This was prompted by NBC’s plan to air a virtual town hall with President Donald Trump on the same night that a debate with former Vice President Joe Biden was previously scheduled, and at the same time that ABC will be hosting a town hall with Biden.

Critics of NBC’s decision suggest that it gives the President undue airtime and that the program will take viewers away from Biden’s town hall. Among those voicing their opposition to this move on social media are current and past NBC staffers and stars and celebrities with large platforms including Katie Couric, Conan O’Brien, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Barbra Streisand. Over 100 Hollywood actors, producers, and directors including Ava DuVernay, J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Aaron Sorkin signed a petition sent to NBC Universal and Comcast objecting to the timing of the town hall.


On Thursday, the hashtag #NBCBlackout reached Twitter’s #1 trending spot in the United States. At the time of writing, both Biden’s ABC town hall and Trump’s NBC town hall are scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern.