On Thursday night, virtually all national advertisers abandoned The O’Reilly Factor, the nation’s top-rated cable news show. The program included just seven advertisements and was, without warning or explanation, cut 15 minutes short.
More than 50 advertisers have announced they will stop airing ads on the show this week, following an explosive report in the New York Times that O’Reilly and Fox News had paid millions to five women who accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment. Even more advertisers appear to have done so without making an announcement.
On Monday, Bill O’Reilly’s show featured 31 advertisements, including scores of national brands.
The first commercial break on Thursday included just one advertisement from Coventry Direct, a company that allows seniors to cash in their life insurance policies for cash.
Other advertisers included the Life Credit Company, Beaches Resorts, the Laser Spine Institute, and Ring, a video doorbell.
The show also included an ad from Rosland Capital, a company that will convert retirement accounts into gold coins and O’Reilly’s largest remaining advertiser. The commercials feature William Devane, star of the 80’s TV drama Knots Landing, sounding the alarm about the nation’s growing debt. Rosland told CNN that it had no plans to stop advertising on the show.
Xfinity appears to be the only major national company still advertising. It ran an advertisement promoting an upcoming UFC pay-per-view fight.
Throughout the show, O’Reilly teased a segment featuring sidekick Jesse Waters reporting from a Texas town that doesn’t want college students visiting for spring break.
The final plug came about 45 minutes into the show. Then The O’Reilly Factor was over.
Instead, anchor Shep Smith conducted a few interviews about Syria. This segment played before U.S. missile strikes on a Syrian airbase were reported. Smith stayed on air for 15 minutes, uninterrupted by commercials. At the end, he passed the torch to Tucker Carlson, whose show follows O’Reilly on the schedule.
No one mentioned what had happened to O’Reilly or why his show was cut short.