NBC’s popular show "The Apprentice" may be at stake if host Donald Trump decides to run for president, because of network concerns that other candidates could request equal airtime, Bill Carter and Brian Stelter report in The New York Times.
Two unnamed NBC executives expressed doubt as to whether Trump would enter the race, with one executive noting that his decision won’t be made for weeks. If not for the campaign, it would be almost certain that "The Apprentice" would be renewed for another season.
A presidential run would complicate things for NBC, the article points out, because of the equal-time rule, which networks try their best to avoid. It obligates TV and radio stations to offer equivalent time to competing candidates if one receives free airtime, the piece notes.
For instance, when Fred Thompson sought the Republican nomination in 2008, he quit NBC’s "Law & Order," and NBC stopped airing reruns in which he appeared, the story says. NBC is now considering several possibilities for "The Apprentice": tape a new season, then hold it until after Trump competes in the primaries or general election; substitute a new host for Trump; or use Trump’s three children, who are already on the show, at the center of the show. But one concern is reportedly that another candidate might demand equal time for his or her children.