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Stephen Colbert broke down the implications of the FCC’s equal time rule for the GOP candidates. Donald Trump hosted Saturday Night Live on Nov. 7, which was “a huge night for the long time comedy institution. Also, pretty good for SNL.” The FCC’s equal time rule dictates that all candidates must get equal air time on any given network, so any candidate can invoke this rule to get air time on NBC. As Stephen points out, “invoking this law is pretty rare, because it makes you seem petty and desperate for attention. So, five candidates have invoked it.”
The candidates who have invoked the equal time rule are John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, and Jim Gilmore. “No one panic,” advises Stephen. “You have not fallen into a worm hole into an alternate dimension in which you’re supposed to know that Jim Gilmore is running for president. You’re still in this universe where no one knows that.” Since Trump was on camera for 12 minutes and five seconds of air time, these candidates will also receive that much time on NBC. The last time it was used was in 2004 after Al Sharpton hosted SNL and Joe Lieberman used the equal time to air a town hall meeting, which “worked out great for Lieberman, who famously went on to become our nation’s 43rd not president.” Watch the video to see Stephen test the boundaries of the rule as he talks about the other candidates.