UPDATED with Nexstar’s statement: Fox’s new crime anthology drama Accused launched behind Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers NFL game on Sunday. The twisty legal thriller from Howard Gordon held some 8.4 million viewers throughout its run, 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. Fox affiliates in those markets are owned by Nexstar, and the error appears to be a technical issue with the company’s feed.
“We had a technical issue (last night) that affected a small number of our Fox stations. It has been resolved and we have taken steps to ensure the issue does not occur again,” said Nexstar, which is the largest Fox affiliate group with stations in 39 markets, in a statement to Deadline.
The stations reportedly cut to local commercials at 22:55:45 and returned at 22:58:06. The ad break was supposed to start at 10:58:20 after the sixth and final act of the episode. Instead, it preempted 2.5 minutes of action as key revelations about the case were revealed, and joined the episode in its final 14 seconds.
The snafu drew the ire of viewers.
“What happened to the ending? The show ended during a commercial,” one person said online.
Added another, “Very disappointing and probably won’t watch any more 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 still looking to find out what happened, the episode is currently available on Hulu and Fox Now. After you’ve watched it in full, check out Deadline’s Q&A with Gordon dissecting the anthology premiere, where each episode opens in a courtroom and introduces the accused without knowing their crime or how they ended up on trial before reveals the events that lead them there from the defendant’s point of view.
As we reported earlier today, Accusedwhich drew 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 past three years (excluding the 2021 Super Bowl lead-in, which helped with serving CBS’ The Equalizer more than 20 million viewers).
Rosy Cordero contributed to this report.