Jimmy Kimmel Says "NBC Sucks" After Dueling Trump-Biden Town Halls

Jimmy Kimmel Live
ABC/Randy Holmes

The 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' host told viewers that “NBC pulled a very sneaky move after Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate" before featuring a mock promo for the president's return to reality TV as an 'America's Got Talent' judge. 

Jimmy Kimmel joined the chorus of Hollywood entertainers calling out NBC and its decision to air a “dueling” town hall for Trump directly against Joe Biden’s previously scheduled ABC event.

With many of his fellow hosts on break, including NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, the face of ABC late night took solo shots at the Peacock network during his opening monologue Thursday. On what should have been the night of the second 2020 presidential debate, Kimmel kicked off Jimmy Kimmel Live! by poking fun at NBC’s “sneaky move” before airing a mock America’s Got Talent clip featuring Trump as a judge.

“NBC pulled a very sneaky move after Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate,” Kimmel lamented to the audience. “They swooped in and gave him his own hour opposite Joe Biden."

Both Biden and Trump’s town halls were scheduled after the president refused to participate in a virtual debate, arranged after the president tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month. Kimmel described the night as “a real peacock block.”

“While many are wondering why NBC would schedule this at the same time as Biden's town hall instead of on another night or even just in another time slot so we could see what both candidates have to say, the answer to the question is NBC sucks,” the ABC host said before laughing.

While quickly laying out the details of Biden and Trump’s town halls, which were both held in key swing states, Kimmel joked that he expected to see the former vice president make a WrestleMania style cameo at Trump’s Florida debate.

“Joe Biden took questions from voters in Philadelphia. Trump, again, was in Florida,” Kimmel said. “Even though they were 1,000 miles apart, I kept fantasizing about a surprise WrestleMania moment where Biden runs behind Trump and bangs him over the head with a folding chair, but it didn't happen.”

Shortly after, Kimmel ran a digital segment offering “a glimpse of what Trump and NBC have planned for their future together.” In it, a voiceover announces the February return of the “prodigal Don,” before the sound of a buzzer cues up footage of Trump — who has been digitally edited into the seat of an America’s Got Talent judge — criticizing contestants.

“Even though Trump spent a lot of this afternoon cryptically claiming that NBC was setting him up with this town hall, it was a beautiful reunion,” Kimmel quipped. “Seeing him back in prime time is like taking a time machine back to 2004 when he was just a blowhard reality TV host, nothing more.”

During the clip, Trump can be heard making statements like “She's nothing, she's nothing. She's got no talent” and “NBC is just absolutely atrocious.” The latter audio snippet was a particularly pointed acknowledgment of the president's comments, ahead of his own town hall, claiming that the network was setting him up.

A day before NBC’s hosted its highly criticized town hall for Trump, The Hollywood Reporter shared details about a “strained but mutually beneficial relationship between Trump and NBC” that took place over several years and was frequently tied to Trump’s Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice deals.

Despite cutting ties with Trump in 2015, NBC would feature him on Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show during his presidential campaign. Some critics of NBC’s Trump town hall — which includes at least 100 top showrunners, producers and stars, and a handful of current and former NBCUniversal staff members — have pointed to these instances as examples of a longstanding and questionable relationship between the two parties.