Bill O’Reilly has not had a great week.
The revelation that he has settled five different sexual harassment claims led to dozens upon dozens of major sponsors pulling their ad spots from his show, to the point that commercial breaks on Thursday looked radically different from those on Monday. It gets a bit weird from there, though: Thursday’s edition of The O’Reilly Factor went off the air 15 minutes early.
You can see the clip of what happened above: 45 minutes into what’s normally an hour-long show, O’Reilly finished up a panel segment by plugging a guest’s new book. At that point, he said that up next, the viewers would see a segment about a Texas town rejecting spring break vacationers, which he had been pushing throughout the entire show. Instead of a commercial break, though, the show immediately transitioned into a “BREAKING NEWS” graphic.
But there was no breaking news.
Shepard Smith started talking about Syria news from hours earlier (the missile strikes had not been reported yet) without any graphics specifically indicating that he was broadcasting live. He did a few quick interviews, and 15 minutes later, Fox News programming continued as scheduled with Tucker Carlson starting his show on time at the top of the hour.
Where this gets especially confusing is that a segment was preempted. It doesn’t seem as if The O’Reilly Factor just ran short due to a lack of ads. If this was a calculated programming move, it’s unclear why it happened but it appears to be from the breaking Syria news.
This report has been updated to provide more clarity about what occurred when the network cut out of O’Reilly’s show 15 minutes early.
[image via screengrab]
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