By Eun Kyung Kim, TODAY

(NBC News) - Despite clashes with NBC over the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants this summer, Donald Trump said he had no problem hosting the network's "Saturday Night Live" this weekend, adding that he was asked for one specific reason: he knows how to attract an audience.

"The reason they put me there is one very simple reason, it's called ratings," the Republican presidential candidate told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie on Thursday. "I get good ratings. If I didn't get ratings, they wouldn't put me there."

Trump and NBC Universal had a public split this summer after the network pulled the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageant broadcasts because of the media and real estate mogul's inflammatory rhetoric against Mexican immigrants. On Wednesday, protesters rallied outside of NBC headquarters and delivered a petition with more than 500,000 signatures asking "SNL" to pull this week's host from the show.

"Saturday Night Live" airs at 11:30pm Saturday following Channel 3 Eyewitness News.