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CNN's Lemon, MSNBC's Maddow rail against NBC for Trump town hall: 'Embarrassing ratings ploy'

CNN's Don LemonDon Carlton LemonFor myopic media, breaking up with Trump will be hard to do Don Lemon to ex-CNN colleague McEnany: 'Girl, bye' CNN's Don Lemon says Newsmax will 'never be as powerful as Fox News' MORE and MSNBC's Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowLeague of Conservation Voters adds racial justice issues to 2020 congressional scorecard Newly released footage shows Schumer's 'near miss' with Capitol rioters Without Trump, late-night 'comedy' becomes even more insufferable MORE on Wednesday ripped NBC for scheduling a Thursday night town hall with President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney: 'Pretty sure' Trump would win 2024 GOP nomination if he ran for president Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Trump says 'no doubt' Tiger Woods will be back after accident MORE that will go head-to-head with a previously scheduled ABC town hall with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Lemon, in a monologue on his show, called the move by NBC an “embarrassing ratings ploy” and accused the network of having been manipulated by the president.

“How does that help the American people?” Lemon asked of the scheduled event. “How does that inform the electorate, by putting those two people on at the same time and making people choose from one to the other? And don’t give me that BS about ‘Well, you can tape one.’ That’s not what this is about.”

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“This is an outright embarrassing ratings ploy on behalf of NBC,” the longtime CNN anchor continued. “And I am shocked and surprised that they would allow the president of the United States to do their programming and manipulate them into doing this. It is embarrassing.”

Lemon was not alone in his sentiment. Maddow, a current NBC employee and MSNBC host, also expressed disagreement with her parent network's town hall move while interviewing Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisCollins: Biden's .9T coronavirus package won't get any Senate GOP votes House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill Biden's immigration bill could wreck his majority, but Democrats have opportunity to do the right thing MORE.

“Are you as mad as everybody else that NBC is doing a town hall with President Trump tomorrow instead of the debate, at the same time that Vice President BidenJoe BidenHoyer: House will vote on COVID-19 relief bill Friday Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears MORE’s going to be on ABC?” Maddow asked Harris. 

“I’m not touching that," the California senator replied, later adding, “I know who I'll be watching.”

ABC announced the Biden event on Oct. 8 after Trump rejected a virtual debate proposal by the Commission on Presidential Debates for Oct. 15. The commission moved to make the second presidential debate virtual after Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

The Biden campaign scheduled with ABC after the Trump rejection, which eventually led to the commission canceling the Oct. 15 debate altogether last Friday.

The final presidential debate is still slated for Oct. 22.