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Breaking News Interruption

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"This is an ABC News Special Report..."

On occasion, the broadcasts of television programs will be interrupted. Mainly this is some sort of Emergency Broadcast, but more often than not, it's a piece of breaking news that is being reported. The channel will usually cut into whatever show is playing with coverage by their news arm of whatever event is happening. Another variation on this trope is running a news banner during the program announcing a piece of breaking news without interrupting the actual show, a common sight on Japanese networks.

This trope is frequently used by major broadcast networks, and is rarely, if ever, done by non-news cable networks.

Compare to Commercial Pop-Up, when a channel uses a pop-up to advertise a show. When a news program is interrupted for breaking news, that's This Just In!.



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     In general 
  • This also happens whenever Royals die in the UK; Normal programming is either interrupted by the picture of the Union Jack and sombre music, or a message telling viewers to change to a news channel. Such events are also likely to disrupt regular programming for the rest of the day. Although it wasn't expected, a good example of both this trope and This Just In! is how British Channels responded to the death of Princess Diana.
    • Which is very annoying because after the first hour they had absolutely no new news whatsoever, and because EVERY SINGLE OTHER CHANNEL was telling you to turn to the news channels, you couldn't escape.
  • Obviously happened on September 11, 2001. You can find plenty of footage on YouTube; it's especially eerie to see how "normally" the day started. Some regular programs took days to come back on the air.
  • In the early morning hours of June 4, 1989, anyone who was up watching a Turner channel — say, TBS or TNT (which was showing How I Won The War) — was greeted with a special bulletin: "THE AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI IS DEAD."
  • Cable news channels have become infamous for overusing and inverting this trope - MSNBC uses a "Breaking News" graphic for the top-stories update at :38 after the hour in prime time, Fox News once broke in on a live-on-camera interview with a U.S. Senator to show Justin Bieber being perp-walked after a routine court hearing.
  • In Russia, both today and during the Soviet-era, classical music being played on all official channels has become recognizable as shorthand for "something terrible has happened." When Chernobyl happened, all radio played classical music for two days until the official announcement was prepared.
    • This tends to be standard practice for totalitarian regimes. When it came time for the Nazis to announce the catastrophic defeat at Stalingrad, they replaced all regular programming with Anton Bruckner's Seventh Symphony before announcing the Sixth Army's fate.
    • In her autobiography about surviving the Rwandan genocide, Esther Mujawayo wrote that she associated Classical music with political upheaval since the national radio network used this music each time a coup occurred.
  • With the exception listed above, Japanese networks often use banners called "telops" showing the name of the station's news department, followed by text indicating a piece of breaking news note  rather than interrupting the program most of the time. This is common on anime and children's programming, but some other programs use it too. The most infamous use of a news banner happened in 2016, when a news ticker about the drug possession trial for retired baseball player Kazuhiro Kiyohara was shown during an episode of Aikatsu!. The ticker was notable for not only upsetting child viewers due to the subject matter (as recreational drugs are highly taboo in Japan), but also the adult fanbase and even the director of the show itself.
  • This often happens during major snowstorms, at least on the East Coast of the United States. Usually, networks will interrupt their programming for the local news half of the network to cover the progress of the storm and its' aftermath. For instance, when an unexpected snowstorm hit during rush hour in New York City in November 2018, WABC spent most of the afternoon and evening airing news coverage of the traffic jams the storm caused, pre-empting all programming up until 7:30PM except for ABC World News Tonight, meaning that Jeopardy! did not air that evening.
  • On March 16, 2020, all of the Big 4 broadcast TV stations in the United States (CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX) suspended their shows from 10:00AM EST until 12:30PM EST for news coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Another interruption occurred later in the day around 3:30PM EST. This would continue every day since then, making it the first time since the September 11th attacks where regular programming was constantly interrupted for breaking news every single day, if not more frequently than that incident.
    • Downplayed when the president gave a speech on the situation on March 29th, 2020 at 6:00PM EST, since at the time, all four major stations were playing their evening news programs.
    • Notably, there have been times when local TV stations interrupted the daily White House briefings to cut to their local state or city government's own daily briefing, basically interrupting another interruption. It goes even further Up to Eleven if the state government begins their briefing before the city government does (assuming the state and city governments do not share a briefing together).
    • Since March 13, 2020 (three days before the United States did this), most Canadian TV networks used to be interrupted at 11:00 ET due to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing the country on the pandemic.
      • For example, CBC would interrupt either the very end of an episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood or the very start of an episode of True and the Rainbow Kingdom where one of the CBC Kids puppets, Gary the Unicorn, told kids that there will be some special grown up programming (the special programming being Trudeau's daily address of course) and Global would air news coverage during Tamron Hall's time slot.
    • As of March 23, 2020, ABC has replaced Strahan, Sara and Keke with a daily program covering the pandemic.
    • Another notable pandemic interruption was the May 8, 2020 one, as it had interrupted the Saturday Morning Kids Show blocks of CBS, ABC and NBC (which were airing Ocean Treks With Jeff Corwin, Best Friends Furever with Kel Mitchell, and Vets Saving Pets, respectively) nationwide for the first time since the aformentioned Horseland incident.
  • Aside from regular programming being pre-empted for congressional hearings and impeachment trials, PBS is well-known for averting this trope. Most, if not all, affiliates of the network will continue to air regular programming even as other broadcast stations air breaking news.
    • There was at least one time when this trope happened to a PBS station. During the September 11th attacks, several New York TV stations' transmitters went out as the World Trade Center, the place from which they were broadcast, collapsed. WLIW, the PBS affiliate for Long Island, NY, had to suspend regular programming as a result in order to allow NBC to continue broadcasting.
      • History would then repeat itself during the coronavirus pandemic, when WLIW pre-empted the entire PBS Kids block to show school-related programming thanks to most public schools in the region being closed to prevent the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, beginning on May 4, 2020, sister station WNET pre-empted the first slots of the day for Sesame Street and Pinkalicious & Peterrific with a show called Let's Learn NYC.
    • At least one PBS affiliate interrupted their airing of the Bookworm Bunch block to show a tribute program to Fred Rogers after his passing.
  • A standard in the United Kingdom: whenever a BBC channel suddenly stops broadcasting and an announcer says "This is the BBC from London" (sometimes coupled with "Normal programming has been suspended"), this usually means someone significant has died (such as a Royal or the incumbent Prime Minister) or something terrible has happened. In 2013, The BBC received a large number of complaints after it interrupted a rerun of Mrs. Brown's Boys with news of Nelson Mandela's death.
  • A common non-news example of this trope: after the incident widely known by many as the Heidi Game,note  a law was established saying that North American sports matches are required to be aired until their conclusion. This in turn causes programming to either be pre-empted (the common practice nowadays) or joined in progress, like what happened during the broadcast television debut of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
    • One example of this variant of the trope happening to a show was when the Halloween-themed edition of Fox's Animation Domination scheduled for air on Sunday October 18th, 2020, which included the 31st installment of the Treehouse of Horror, was preempted at the last second on the East Coast by a forced seventh game of the 2020 MLB NLCS pushing the block till after Halloween on November 1, 2020, since the 2020 World Series aired on Sunday, October 25. Because of the East Coast preemption, the block was replaced with reruns on the West Coast, breaking the longest-running streak the Treehouse of Horror has ever had of actually airing in October. A similar thing would happen a few months later when Valentine's Day themed episodes of the block (that actually had been scheduled for Valentine's Day itself on Sunday February 14), as well as the series premiere of The Great North, were pre-empted by a rain delay on the 2021 Daytona 500.
    • Even cable networks are required to follow this law for sports games. During TBS's second airing of Sherlock Gnomes, a baseball game going overtime pushed the film back 30 minutes and joined it in progress.
      • Something similar happened on the December 4, 2020 airing of Jingle All the Way on the same channel, where the last ten minutes of the film were cut off in order to show an e-sporting tournament.
  • It has been a common practice in the United States since about the 1970's for local TV stations with a news operation to interrupt programming locally if severe weather such as tornadoes occur so the station can cover the bad weather and any threats it may impose. In May of 2019, an angered meteorologist at WSYX in Columbus, Ohio delivered a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the station's viewers who were complaining on social media that the station interrupted the season finale of The Bachelorette for a series of tornadoes in Central Ohio that wound up killing six people.
    • In what is also a case of Life Imitates Art, on July 4, 1977, a tornado touchdown during a series of storms in Southeast Michigan resulted in a series of tornado warning bulletins interrupting broadcasts of the series finale of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (which, coincidentally, has a storyline involving a tornado striking the show's setting of Fernwood, Ohio) and Kojak on Detroit CBS affiliate WJBKnote .
  • The Emergency Alert System in the US. According to That Other Wiki, "in addition to alerting the public of local weather emergencies such as tornadoes and flash floods, the official EAS is designed to enable the President of the United States to speak to the United States within 10 minutes".
    • In 2014, this actually happened... except not. It was a false signal that locked up people's cable boxes and played a message that there was about to be a message from the White House, when actually nothing was happening. It was blamed on a bad code transmitted from a radio program.
    • In some areas, Amber Alerts are also sent this way to the local area, with the alert tones and the scroll across the screen being read.
    • The UK had a somewhat less comprehensive system. In the event of a nuclear attack, all TV channels would broadcast the frequency everyone needed to tune their radios to (that of BBC Radio 4) and then go off the air. So rather than taking over all channels, they would simply turn most of them off. By law, to this day the UK government retains the right to take over the broadcasts of the BBC and ITV in the event of a national emergency, although with the almost non-existent threat of nuclear attack there is no other special system (or at least none that is publicly known) for such an eventuality.
    • Japan in particular has one specifically for major earthquakes, where a chime is played, with a warning message about the incoming earthquake played over it and the original audio, and a blue banner overtakes part of the screen. Given the number of earthquakes hitting the area, it's rather justified.
  • This trope is par for the course with US presidential inaugurations, as all networks (including PBS) will pre-empt their regular programming to show coverage of the inauguration in question.
  • This trope occured when the 2011 Fukushima earthquake hit, with many Japanese channels airing news programming non-stop for at least a week before regular programming resumed. However, TV Tokyo did air the 49th episode of Spellbound Magical Princess Lilpri as scheduled. In addition, all advertising was pulled and public service announcements aired in place of regular television commercials.
    • Other occasions where regular Japanese TV programs were suspended for a week included the death of Emperor Hirohito and the 1995 Kobe earthquake.


     Film - Live Action 
  • It isn't to say that a children's movie is important, but outrage ensued from angry parents on social media when NBC interrupted their airing of an American Girl film in favor of a news report on the Trayvon Martin case.
  • This happened twice during the annual airings of The Wizard of Oz in the United States:
    • The February 24, 1974 airing on NBC got interrupted by a special report on the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, delaying the movie by a half-hour.
    • The February 24, 1988 airing on CBS was interrupted for a Special Report on a presidental conference, delaying the start time by an hour and a half.

     Live Action TV 
  • CBS famously interrupted As the World Turns in the Eastern and Central time zones to report on the shooting and eventual death of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. (A repeat of the sitcom The Real McCoys was interrupted in the west.)
  • In series 38, episode 7 of British quiz show Have I Got News for You, a crew member walked up to Ian Hislop and whispered in his ear. Ian then announced that cabinet minister James Purnell had just resigned, just as the panel were discussing the various cabinet resignations that had occurred during that week.
    • News that Ed Miliband was resigning as Leader of the Labour Party similarly interrupted another episode. A week later, discussion of Chuka Umunna, who was one of the candidates to be Miliband's replacement, was interrupted by the news that Umunna was dropping out of the race.
  • The live broadcast of Quatermass 2005 in the United Kingdom had an on-screen graphic displayed twice, advising viewers that a major news story (the death of Pope John Paul II) was being covered on BBC News 24.
  • "Turnabout Intruder", the last episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, was pre-empted by the death of Dwight D. Eisenhower. It didn't air until two months later.
  • During a live broadcast of ABC's Monday Night Football in 1980, John Lennon's assassination was announced on-air by commentator Howard Cosell. (This was dramatized in the 2016 film The Lennon Report showing how Cosell got the news and decided it had to be announced live during the game.)
  • An ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecast in 2011 was interrupted for an announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden.
  • The second-to-last episode of the Japanese series Ressha Sentai ToQger was interrupted by a newscast about the death of a Japanese journalist at the hands of the terrorist group ISIS. It was long enough to push the final two episodes (and thus, the premiere of Shuriken Sentai Ninninger) back, but short enough that Kamen Rider Drive and the premiere of Go! Princess Pretty Cure aired uninterrupted.
    • Speaking of Kamen Rider, up until Kamen Rider Ex-Aid when the show changed timeslots, TV stations in Hiroshima would pre-empt the show's broadcast for the annual Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony if it fell on a Sunday.
  • During the series's original run, the final episode of My Mother the Car was interrupted by a special news bulletin involving NASA. The episode did not resume afterwards, and it wouldn't be until later that the entire episode was seen.
  • One airing of a Premier League match on NBC was interrupted for another NBC News Special Report.
  • During the Columbine shootings, a General Hospital episode was interrupted for a ABC News Special Report.
    • In Feburary 23, 2021, KABC in Los Angeles pushed General Hospital to 2 AM due to breaking news coverage on a vehicle accident involving Tiger Woods.
  • Another example of ABC Daytime getting interrupted - an All My Children airing was interrupted for news on Bill Clinton's surgery.
  • The Price Is Right didn't have such a lucky premiere of its 44th season as the show's themed "Decades Week" faced an interruption on most days caused by the visit of Pope Francis in the United States. On September 23 the show was interrupted during the fifth Item Up For Bids for a Special Report and returned during the sixth pricing game. On September 24, the show was interrupted at the first Showcase Showdown for a special report on the Pope's speech, that episode never returning to air on the East Coast. The last day of Decades Week was the least lucky, with the entire latter half of the show being interrupted on the East Coast for a third Special Report on the Pope (preempting the premiere of the game Vend-O-Price), once again with the show not returning to air, and then subsequently being interrupted on the West Coast by a Special Report on the resignation of Speaker of the House John Boehner.
  • On April 15, 2019, the last few minutes of a repeat of The View were interrupted for an ABC News Special Report on the Notre Dame cathedral fire.
  • Survivor has been interrupted for breaking news twice, both during season finales:
    • The finale of Survivor: Philippines on December 16th, 2012 was delayed by coverage of the Sandy Hook shootings.
    • The finale of Survivor: Island of the Idols on December 18th, 2019 was interrupted to announce that President Trump had been impeached. Norah O'Donnell began the announcement by telling Survivor viewers that they would not miss a minute of it.
    • On many stations that night's local airing of Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, or Entertainment Tonight got preempted by the actual impeachment vote which began at 7:30.
      • Meanwhile, ABC interrupted the beginning of the Good Times half of the second edition of Live In Front Of A Studio Audience to announce the news. Jimmy Kimmel even lampshaded the possibility of this happening in the speech he gave at the beginning of the broadcast.
  • On January 3, 2020, a NBC Special Report about the death of Qasem Soleimani came on seven minutes into a repeat of the November 7, 2019 edition of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which featured Steve Carell as a guest, on New York City affiliate WNBC. ABC also interrupted their programs for the same report during a new episode of General Hospital, as well as CBS (in New York, a repeat of the September 18, 2019 episode of Dr. Phil was on).
  • Surprisingly averted for ABC's airing of the January 21, 2020 Senate Impeachment Trial. The show that aired in the slot the trial began, Strahan, Sara and Keke, did not advertise that the show would be airing that day via social media unlike what they did the day prior. However, this trope was played straight with NBC, as several affiliates had to reschedule Days of Our Lives to the graveyard slot due to the coverage.
    • Similarly during the impeachment trial, new episodes of The Price Is Right were cancelled by CBS for about two weeks during the trial because proceedings began every day at 11:30 which would have led to the later half of those new episodes getting pre-empted. At the same time the cast of The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful used social media to inform viewers that new episode of those shows were cancelled because of the trial.
  • When North Korea launched a missile over Hokkaido, the morning news program of TV Tokyo, News Morning Satelite, was given an additional half-hour of airtime to cover this topic. This lead to the first pre-emption of Oha Suta, the children's news program that followed, in it's 20-year-run to not be related to sports coverage. As a result of this incident, the rerun of Kemono Friends that came on afterwards ran with no advertising.
  • On New Years Day 1986, NBC interrupted the Rose Parade's broadcast to air Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev's New Years Day message to the American public, which was apart of a exchanging of televised Christmas greetings between the United States and Soviet Union.
  • The very start of the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl on January 26, 2020 was interrupted by an ABC News Special Report on Kobe Bryant's death.
  • An August 30, 1997 ABC airing of the series finale of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper was interrupted by a bulletin announcing Princess Diana's death. This interruption only occurred on the East Coast.
  • On December 5, 2011, the annual Sinterklaas of Sesamstraat was spontaneously cancelled because the live broadcast of a political debate took longer than expected. The network, not wanting to suddenly stop the debate, decided to cancel the Sinterklaas episode at the last minute, which was originally scheduled to start after the debate. All the while millions of parents and children were waiting in front of their televisions for said episode to begin, in vain. This decision caused national outrage, with many angry Dutchmen, including several Dutch celebrities, voicing their displeasure on Twitter. The chief editor of Sesamstraat told local newspapers the cast and crew were absolutely livid by this decision, as the Sinterklaas episode takes up a lot of time and money to film, which was now flushed down the drain.
  • An odd example happened during the Seinfeld finale that crosses over with No-Hoper Repeat: Cable network TV Land suspended their programming for an hour to show this image encouraging viewers to switch the channel to Seinfeld.
  • On December 29, 2006 CBS News interrupted local programming on the East Coast to announce that Saddam Hussein had been executed.
  • The second The ABC's of COVID-19 special on CNN was pre-empted at the last minute for coverage of protests related to the death of George Floyd. This was later changed into a town hall based on that event. Because of this, the second ABC's of COVID-19 special wound up airing on June 13, 2020.
  • On June 3, 2020, all 3 Disney-owned networks (Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD), aired a promotional interstitial celebrating African-American rights on loop for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in wake of Floyd's murder.
  • Several networks (the Big 4 broadcasts networks and PBS, which rarely uses this trope) suspended their programming at 2PM Eastern on June 4th, 2020 for a ceremony honoring George Floyd. This notably interrupted a new episode of Hero Elementary on some affiliates ("The Lake Mistake; Plant Problem").
    • This was downplayed on the day of the actual funeral, as it began at the time most stations (at least in the EST time zone) would be playing newscasts. And unlike the memorial ceremony, PBS did not air the funeral.
  • Just after midnight on June 4, 2016, the late night shows across the big three American networks (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS, Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC) were interrupted with a special report on the death of Muhammad Ali.
    • 4 years later, many late night shows across America such as The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS and Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC were interrupted with a special report on the death of John Lewis either in the late hours of July 17, 2020 or the early hours of July 18, 2020.
      • The last few minutes of the July 30, 2020 broadcast of Let's Make a Deal, as well as the end of the final hour of Today on NBC note , were interrupted for coverage of the funeral of John Lewis.
  • A WNBA game on ABC was interrupted with a special report about the death of legendary TV personality Regis Philbin on July 25, 2020.
    • An hour of Modern Family reruns, as well as reruns of Blackish and its' spinoff mixed-ish, were pre-empted on July 28, 2020 for two special episodes of 20/20: the first addressing Regis Philbin's passing and the second covering the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • Similarly, ABC pre-empted reruns of Celebrity Family Feud, Press Your Luck, and Match Game for an airing of Black Panther and an ABC News special on August 30th to honor Chadwick Boseman after his sudden passing.
      • In fact Celebrity Family Feud got pre-empted nationwide no more than three times in summer of 2020. Once on June 21 for an interview with former National Security Advisor John Bolton and once more on July 19 for an interview with Mary Trump. The third and final time happened on August 23 for an interview with Democratic Presidential Candidiate Joe Biden and Vice-Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris.
      • Celebrity Family Feud wasn't immune to local preemptions in 2020, either. In one such example, on May 31, Detroit affiliate WXYZ interrupted the last several minutes of its season premiere for breaking news coverage of continuing protests in Detroit related to the death of George Floyd (after that city implemented a temporary curfew after protests on previous nights turned violent), which also interrupted the first few minutes of the season premiere of Press Your Luck.
      • Also similarly, ABC preempted a new episode of Card Sharks on November 8, 2020 for a special 20/20 episode on Alex Trebek's passing.
  • On September 18, 2020, many, though not all, local airings of Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, or Entertainment Tonight were interrupted for breaking news coverage of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which also pre-empted the programming which followed (for instance, on ABC, it interrupted a repeat of America's Funniest Home Videos).
  • On Columbus Day of 2020, all broadcast stations except PBS in the United States pre-empted their morning programming for coverage of the hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
  • On November 8th, 2020, WABC interupted Here and Now note  to announce the death of Alex Trebek. One minute into the announcement, it was interrupted by ABC News' national announcement of Trebek's death. 10 seconds later, WABC cut back to their own feed and continued broadcasting their own announcement.
    • For that matter on the night of November 8th, ABC preempted that night's episode of Card Sharks for a 20/20 special on the life of Alex Trebek, just as they had done earlier in the year for Regis Philbin, Chadwick Boseman, and Kobe Bryant.
  • On December 21 and 22, 2020, General Hospital was interrupted for two different speeches by Joe Biden.
  • On January 6, 2021, all four major broadcast networks in the United States (plus PBS) interrupted their programming at around 2:30PM EST to cover the storming of the United States Capitol. The interruption would continue for most of the day, preempting several primetime shows.
  • The short-lived game show Bargain Hunters faced constant pre-emptions from news coverage of the Iran-Contra hearings for half of its' run.
  • WKRG (CBS affiliate of Mobile, Alabama also serving Pensacola, Florida) briefly interrupted the January 22, 2021 airing of The Price Is Right to announce the death of a Mobile native and former Atlanta Braves player Hank Aaron.
  • The June 18, 2018 airing of Okaasan to Issho was cut off after the hosts asked the viewers at home "Minna genki?" note  for coverage of an earthquake in Osaka. This in turn wound up pre-empting Inai Inai Baa!, the show that followed.
  • The Disney Sunday Movie: A planned March 1986 showing of Robin Hood had to be postponed due to a speech from President Reagan regarding Communist threats from Nicaragua and Central America. Instead, the show became a one-hour installment and showed Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree with two Chip N Dale cartoons.
  • The death of Johnny Hallyday made several networks such as TF1, France 2 and W9 cease any normal broadcast and devote themselves 24/7 to the news.
  • On February 13, 2021, a music show on NHK that was covering the writing process of the theme song to the asadora (morning drama) Ochoyan had its' broadcast interrupted to announce that a magnitude 7.1 earthquake had struck Japan.
    • Meanwhile, over on Tokyo MX, a broadcast of Cells at Work! CODE BLACK opened with a breaking news banner about the earthquake. The banners lasted throughout a majority of the episode.
    • On TV Asahi, the sixth episode of the second season of World Trigger was pre-empted due to news coverage of the earthquake.
  • On August 31, 1997 in the UK, the ITV Chart Show was interrupted midway through a broadcast of the music video for Catch's "Bingo" to allow ITN to announce the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

  • Extant clips circulate of a pro football game and a New York Philharmonic concert, respectively, getting interrupted by news reports about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
  • WGBH's live broadcast of a Boston Symphony concert during the shooting of John F. Kennedy was unique in that the conductor, Erich Leinsdorf, broke the news of the assassination himself, instead of WGBH's reporters. After making the announcement to a shocked audience, he and the orchestra played Beethoven's Funeral March.
  • On February 20, 1971, an Air Force employee tried to send out a test warning, but accidentally sent out an alarm that meant there would be a national emergency. All radio stations were supposed to interrupt their usual programs for an emergency alert. Only one station in Fort Wayne, Indiana did, interrupting "Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted".
  • In the Congo-Léopoldville, on September 5, 1960, an English lesson on the national radio network was interrupted by official announcement from Prime Minister Lumumba and President Kasa-Vubu dismissing each other.
  • The February 17, 2021 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show opened with Rush's wife announcing that he had passed away that morning from cancer.

  • Concert example: the Aqours World Love Live: Brand New Wave concert was interrupted after "Brightest Melody" to inform the audience of the 7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake and how the show was taking a break to check for damage from it.

     Web Original 
  • Rooster Teeth did this twice, using the news recap show "The Know-It-All" to reveal Monty Oum's hospitalization (and that there would be no videos from Rooster Teeth that weekend), then using "The Know" a few days later to reveal of his passing, again stating that there would be no videos because of it.

     Western Animation 
  • During an airing of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, a news report on the death of Whitney Houston interrupted the program.
  • Nickelodeon, as well as most Viacom networks, interrupted a re-run of the PAW Patrol episode "Pups Save A Baby Humdinger/Pups Save A Pinata" on March 14, 2018 to go off-air in support of the National Walk-Out that day. Parents were not too pleased, which lead to a controversy on Twitter, during which one user had this to say:
    Twitter user: Your kids can miss 17 minutes of PAW Patrol for the 17 families who lost their kids.
  • The first airing of Rugrats on CBS's Nickelodeon-themed Saturday Morning Cartoon block (the episode in question was "Finsterella") was interrupted on some stations halfway through for breaking news about the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion. Some stations did air the episode as originally planned.
  • One rerun of the Horseland episode "The Can-Do Kid" was interrupted by a CBS News discussion on the death of Osama Bin Laden.
  • ABC Kids:
    • Towards the end of a broadcast of The Proud Family on ABC Kids, an ABC News Special Report on Hurricane Charley interrupted the end of show. This is to the point George Stephanopoulos actually tells the children watching to get their parents to come into the room because of the subject matter of the report (it probably didn't work, as most kids probably changed the channel in anger). After the Special Report ended, the network joined Power Rangers Dino Thunder already in progress.
    • The final broadcast day of the block was not seen on the East Coast of the United States due to news coverage of Hurricane Irene pre-empting the entire block that day.
    • On February 1, 2003 an episode of Fillmore! was interrupted midway through by a Special report on the explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia, with George Stephanopoulos once again informing children watching to get a parent into the room.
    • This happened for weeks on ABC Kids during the 2008 election, usually during The Emperor's New School and The Replacements. These shows would usually be interrupted at random points for news coverage on the election.
  • On April 1, 1980, an airing of Daffy Duck's Easter Special on NBC was interrupted by a NBC News Special Report regarding that year's presidential election cycle. According to the comments section, some kids weren't pleased.
  • On November 15, 2019 and November 19th, 2019, an hour of PBS Kids programming on PBS stations nationwide was pre-empted for coverage of an impeachment trial. This was not the first time it had happened: in the mid-90's, coverage of congressional hearings interrupted most of the block, causing some affiliates to air it at the end of the day.
    • The second part of the same impeachment trial, occuring from January 21-23rd, 2020, interrupted 5 hours' worth of PBS programming, including several PBS Kids shows, with Curious George, Odd Squad, Dinosaur Train, Nature Cat, Cyberchase and Molly of Denali not airing that day on many PBS stations. Some affilates, including one in Connecticut, decided to air these programs from 5 to 9PM (with a break for The PBS NewsHour in between the first hour and the last three hours) following the trial.
  • A presidental address by Barack Obama pre-empted ABC's original December 1, 2009 airdate for Prep and Landing. As a result, the special was rescheduled to air a week later in the slot that the annual 1-hour presentation of A Charlie Brown Christmas held, which resulted in the latter event being cancelled for the year.
  • This has happened to One Saturday Morning at least three times:
    • The block's premiere was originally intended for on September 6, 1997, but it got pre-empted for coverage of Princess Diana's funeral across all broadcast TV channels, which in turn also pre-empted the premieres of The Weird Al Show and Wheel 2000 on the then-new Think CBS Kids block and The Legend of Calamity Jane on Kids' WB!.
    • The December 19, 1998 airing, which notably contained the Christmas Episode of Recess, was pre-empted by an impeachment trial.
    • The April 22, 2000 airing was pre-empted by coverage of the raid on the Florida home where Elian Gonzalez was being held by his father.
  • One British broadcast of the Alfred J. Kwak episode "The Snowman" had the text "For a major announcement please turn to BBC News" on the bottom of the screen during one point in the episode. The major announcement was that Princess Diana had died.
  • A December 1993 broadcast of the DuckTales episode "A Whale of a Bad Time" in Hungary was cut to announce the death of the then-serving prime minister. The event confused children across the country and became a defining generational moment — they were eventually dubbed the "DuckTales Generation" and became the focus of numerous articles and cultural analyses.
  • The May 6, 1995 airing of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? on FOX Kids was pre-empted for Talkin' It Out With John Walsh, a special about the Oklaholma City bombing.
  • On June 2, 2020, a rerun of the T.O.T.S. episode "Lost Lovey; Diggity Dog" was delayed about 10 minutes from its scheduled airtime in favor of showing an 8 minute and 46 second loop of a promotional interstitial celebrating African-American rights in wake of the murder of George Floyd.
    • On the same day, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. interrupted re-runs of The Casagrandes and PAW Patrol to show the Kids' Bill of Rights for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. However, an hour before this, a screen with the text "I Can't Breathe" (which was meant to air on other Viacom networks) accidentally aired for a few seconds before a rerun of The Loud House and a new episode of Hey Duggee.


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