×

CNBC, Fox Business Ditch Commercials to Keep Tabs on Market Tumult

In order to cover business Monday, CNBC and Fox Business Network had to forego some of their own.

The NBCUniversal-owned business-news cable network interrupted programming with just a single commercial break between 9:30 a.m. and noon, according to a person familiar with the matter, and was expected to remain commercial free through the close of the stock markets. Fox Corp.’s Fox Business Network, meanwhile, went ad free between 1 p.m. eastern and 4:40 p.m. eastern as the market’s dips became more pronounced.

Both networks’ editorial staffs were scrambling to cover one of the biggest business stories of the year, a more than 900-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and corresponding tumbles in the Nasdaq and S&P 500 as investors reacted to new trade threats between the U.S. and China.

Going commercial free remains an option rarely used by TV-news outlets, though it is something utilized on occasion. CNN in past months has sometimes cut commercials during particularly heated interviews between one of its anchors and members of the White House. And all major broadcast networks went ad free for several days in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Both outlets are in the midst of covering an event of great importance to its viewers. Markets fluctuate all the time, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average had recently cracked the 27,000 mark – a high-water mark for the index- and now appears to be tumbling precipitously.

CNBC programs affected by the maneuver would have included “Squawk On The Street,” “Power Lunch” and “Closing Bell,” among others. Fox Business selections including Neil Cavuto’s “Cavuto Coast to Coast” and “The Claman Countdown” would have gone without commercials this afternooon.

Dominic Chu, one of CNBC’s news anchors, mentioned the lack of advertising interruptions on Twitter:

It’s not immediately clear whether CNBC or Fox Business would sacrifice all the ad dollars that might have come from a normal day of ad-supported TV. Many of the ads shown during daytime programming come from direct-response advertisers, who typically pay lower fees in exchange for allowing the network to run their commercials at various points in the schedule.

More TV

  • Justin Timberlake performs onstage during the

    Ad Time in Fox's Super Bowl Was Sold Out. Until it Wasn't

    Fox declared in November that it had sold all the advertising time available in its looming February 2 broadcast of Super Bowl LIV. But just this week, it found a little more. After holding nearly two months’ worth of discussions, Fox and the National Football League have devised a way to add commercial inventory to [...]

  • NBC Orders Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe'

    NBC Orders Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe' From 'House' Alums

    NBC has given out its fifth drama pilot order for the 2020-2021 season. The broadcaster has commissioned “Ordinary Joe.” It explores the three parallel lives of the show’s main character after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you [...]

  • Bong Joon Ho 'Parasite' Director

    Listen: Who Will Take Home the Oscars for Best Director and Picture?

    The Oscars are just two weeks away, so it’s time to start making final predictions about who is going to win. On this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, I invited the magazine’s deputy awards and features editor (and my “Pick of the Week” co-host) Jenelle Riley onto the show [...]

  • Dazzler, Tigra, Hit-Monkey, and M.O.D.O.K.

    'Howard the Duck,' 'Tigra & Dazzler' Animated Marvel Shows Not Moving Forward at Hulu

    Marvel Television’s remaining slate continues to dwindle. Variety has confirmed that the animated shows “Howard the Duck” and “Tigra & Dazzler” — two of four animated Marvel projects set up at Hulu — are no longer in the works at the streamer. The other two shows, “M.O.D.O.K” and “Hit Monkey,” are currently still on track [...]

  • Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi movie

    After 'Star Wars' Obi-Wan Kenobi Delay, Is the Force Still Strong With Disney Plus?

    The issues on Disney Plus’ Obi-Wan Kenobi series are either a minor stumble or a portent of trouble ahead, depending on who you ask. It was reported on Thursday that series writer Hossein Amini was no longer attached to the project as Disney wished to overhaul the scripts. The move led to pre-production in London [...]

  • The unboxing teaser

    TV News Roundup: HBO Releases 'The Undoing' Teaser

    In today’s TV news roundup, HBO released a teaser for “The Undoing” and Showtime dropped a trailer for “The Trade” Season 2. FIRST LOOKS HBO released a teaser for its forthcoming limited series “The Undoing,“ which will premiere in May. The six-part series based on the novel “You Should Have Known” by Jean Hanff Korelitz, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content