The cast adds their heft to more than 100 power players objecting to the NBC town hall

By James Hibberd
October 15, 2020 at 02:26 PM EDT
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More than 100 top Hollywood players have sent a protest letter to NBC Universal over plans to air a town hall with President Donald Trump on Thursday night.

As first reported by THR, a long list of writers, actors, and producers have signed a statement saying they are "devastated" by the company's decision to counter-program Democratic nominee Joe Biden's town hall on ABC with a Trump town hall on NBC.

Most notably, signers of the letter include several names from NBC's biggest hit drama This Is Us, including creator Dan Fogelman and stars Sterling K. Brown, Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Chrissy Metz, and Justin Hartley. As current NBC talent, I’m proud of our entire #thisisus cast for taking a stand and signing this," Moore tweeted. "Tonight I will be watching Joe Biden on ABC." 

NBC's Debra Messing (Will & Grace) also signed as well as top industry writer-producers like J.J. Abrams (The Rise of Skywalker), Greg Berlanti (The CW's superhero universe), Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story), Damon Lindelof (Watchmen), Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) and many others.

With Biden firmly topping Trump in election polling, and the president refusing to agree to the Presidential Debate Commission's virtual format for the previously announced second debate that was supposed to take place Oct. 15, it's thought that Trump has pushed for this particular event in order to find a way to score a public relations victory against Biden in the one way that he still can – by delivering competitive TV ratings.

Here's the letter concerning tonight's NBC News Town Hall with President Trump:

We are a group of writers, actors, directors and producers. Many of us have been lucky enough to work for NBCUniversal at some point in our careers. Some of us are currently employed at your studio. We have always thought of NBCUniversal as both a terrific creative home and a brand that stands for the best in entertainment and broadcast journalism. This is why we have been devastated to learn that you have chosen to air President Trump’s town hall this Thursday night at 8 p.m., directly opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall. This is not a partisan issue. This is about the political health of our democracy. President Trump refused to participate in the virtual debate scheduled for Thursday night by the Presidential Debate Commission. 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. We believe this kind of indifference to the norms and rules of our democracy are what have brought our country to this perilous state. We are simply asking that NBC air the President’s town hall either before or after Vice President Biden’s so that American voters can have the opportunity to watch both. We understand the necessities of business, especially in this difficult time. But we believe there are larger issues of civic responsibility at stake here.And then it's signed:Aaron Sorkin

Adam McKay

Adam Scott

Alex Barnow

Allison Tolman

Amy Lippman

Amy Schumer

Aubrey Plaza

Ava DuVernay

Ayelet Waldman

Ben Stiller

Billy Eichner

Billy Porter

Brendan Gall

Chelsea Handler

Chris Bishop

Chris Meloni

Chris Miller

Chris Sullivan

Chrissy Metz

Courtney Kemp

Dahvi Waller

Damon Lindelof

Dan Fogelman

Daniel Hageman

David A. Goodman

David Guggenheim

Debra Messing

Ely Henry

Emily Gordon

Eric Guggeheim

Greg Berlanti

JJ Abrams

Jason Moore

Jennifer Yale

Jill Knox

Jim Parriott

Joe Mantello

Jon Cryer

Jon Hamm

Jon Huertas

Josh Gad

Josh Singer

Julianne Moore

Julie Plec

Justin Hartley

Keith Powell

Kenya Barris

Kevin Hageman

Kumail Nanjiani

Laeta Kalogridis

Latoya Morgan

Mandy Moore

Marc Guggenheim

Mariska Hargitay

Marti Noxon

Martin Gero

Matthew Lopez

Max Mutchnick

Michael Chabon

Michael Green

Michele Fazekas

Milo Ventimiglia

Neal Baer

Nicholas Stoller

Nicole Yorkin

Otmara Marrero

Parvesh Cheena

Patton Oswalt

Phil Lord

Preacher Lawson

Robert Kirkman

Ryan Murphy

Samuel Baum

Sarah Schechter

Sarah Silverman

Sarah Treem

Seth Grahame-Smith

Seth Rogen

Shakina Nayfack

Sophia Bush

Sterling K. Brown

Sunil Nayir

Susan Kelechi Watson

Tara Butters

Terry Matalas

Thor Freudenthal

Tom McCarthy

Tony Kushner

Travis Beacham

Vanessa Taylor

Zoe Lister-Jones

Ken Olin

Abbi Jacobson

Alison Janney

David Kohan

Robert King

Malcolm Spellman

Seth MacFarlane

Marjorie David

Donald Faison

Chris Misiano

David Goyer

Julie Martin

Joss Whedon

Warren LeightNBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde released a statement in response to the letter, confirmed by EW stating, "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.”

Conde added NBC gave Trump the 8 p.m. slot because it gave Biden the same slot in a previous town hall and wanted to keep the presentation equal between the candidates. "We hope voters will watch both discussions," Conde added, even though the events are airing at the same time. Obviously, both will be available on other online platforms should viewers want to watch one live and the other taped.

The dueling town halls air tonight on ABC and NBC, respectively, at 8 p.m. ET.

Related content:

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This Is Us

NBC’s beloved era-hopping drama tells the story of the Pearson family through the years.

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  • 5
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airs
  • Tuesdays at 09:00 PM
creator
  • Dan Fogelman
network
  • NBC
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