UPDATED with Nexstar’s statement: Fox’s new crime anthology drama Accused launched behind the Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers NFL game on Sunday. The twisty legal thriller from Howard Gordon kept some 8.4M viewers for the duration, setting a ratings record for Fox. But a number of them were left fuming after local Fox stations across the country accidentally cut away in the final minutes, denying them the resolution of the story starring Michael Chiklis.
According to sources, 13 markets were affected, representing about 8% of the country, including Cleveland, Sacramento, St. Louis, Indianapolis, San Diego, Greensboro, Little Rock, Lexington, Honolulu, Springfield, Ft. Smith, Monroe and Jackson. The Fox affiliates in those markets are owned by Nexstar, and the glitch appears to be a technical issue in that company’s feed.
“We had a technical issue [last night] affecting a small number of our Fox stations. It has been addressed and we have taken steps to make sure the issue doesn’t occur again,” Nexstar, which is the largest Fox affiliate group with stations in 39 markets, said in a statement to Deadline.
The stations reportedly cut to local commercial at 10:55:45 PM and returned at 10:58:06 PM. The ad break was supposed to start at 10:58:20, following the sixth and final act of the episode. Instead, it pre-empted 2.5 minutes of action when key revelations about the case were revealed, rejoining the episode for the final 14 seconds.
The snafu drew viewers’ ire.
“What happened to the ending? The show ended during a commercial,” one person vented online.
Added another, “Very disappointing and probably will not watch anymore episodes. Not impressed.”
A viewer in Sacramento echoed the sentiment. “Never watch network TV and will never go back. Thanks for ruining a promising show Fox.”
For those who are still looking to find out what happened, the episode is currently available on Hulu and Fox Now. After you watch it in its entirety, you can check out Deadline’s Q&A with Gordon, dissecting the premiere of the anthology, where each episode opens in a courtroom introducing the accused without knowing their crime or how they ended up on trial before revealing the events that lead them there from the defendant’s point of view.
As we reported earlier today, Accused, which garnered 8.4 million viewers and a 2.0 rating in adults 18-49, became the highest-rated and most-watched debuts across broadcast or cable in the last three years (excluding the 2021 Super Bowl lead-in, which helped earn CBS’ The Equalizer more than 20M viewers).
Rosy Cordero contributed to this report.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.