Fri. Oct 23rd, 2020

Coronavirus disrupts TV show audiences and more

The coronavirus is now impacting some of America’s favorite shows.

This week, a number of late-night shows have announced they would no longer be taping with live studio audiences due to health concerns. On Thursday, both Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Late Show With James Corden put out statements saying that starting on Monday, March 16, they will no longer have audiences as a “precautionary measure.”

In addition, ViacomCBS announced that Comedy Central’s Lights Out With David Spade and Tosh.0 will film without an audience starting Monday.

This news comes after CBS announced on Wednesday that The Late Show With Stephen Colbert will no longer be filmed with a live audience beginning next week.

“Beginning Monday, March 16, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert will film without a live, in-studio audience,” the statement reads. “This move is being made out of an abundance of caution regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the uncertainty of the situation for future weeks. Per guidance from New York City officials, CBS and The Late Show are doing their part to help decrease the potential rate of transmission in our communities. There have not been any specific developments at The Ed Sullivan Theater to cause concern for audiences with plans to attend the show tonight, tomorrow, or who have attended in recent weeks. For several weeks, the team at the theater has been taking all necessary precautions to protect everyone who enters and works in the theater with enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures.”

“For the past several weeks, The Late Show producers have consulted daily to share information with other New York-based late-night shows, who will also be moving forward without an audience,” the statement concludes.

NBC also announced that starting next Monday, both The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night With Seth Meyers will no longer tape with a live audience.

“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority,” the statement reads. “As a precautionary measure, starting Monday, March 16, we have decided to suspend live audiences for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night With Seth Meyers. Per guidance from New York City officials, the company is hoping to do its part to help to decrease the rate of transmission in our communities. Our shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates.”

In addition, NBC put out a statement that the Today show would also suspend a live audience.

“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority.  As a precautionary measure, starting tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, we have decided to suspend live audiences for TODAY and TODAY with Hoda & Jenna & Friends.  Per guidance from New York City officials, the company is hoping to do its part to help to decrease the rate of transmission in our communities.  Our shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates.”

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah is also stopping live audience tapings, beginning on Monday.

“Our top priority is the safety of our guests and staff,” Comedy Central said in a statement to ET. “Beginning Monday, March 16, Comedy Central’s NY based late-night series, The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, will film without a live, in-studio audience. This move is being made out of an abundance of caution and concern regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus and per guidance from New York City officials to take appropriate actions.”

“There have been no developments at The Daily Show’s studio to cause concern for audience members who have plans to attend the show tonight or tomorrow,” the statement continues. “Measures have been taken to protect everyone who enters and works in the office and studio with enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures. For the past several weeks, The Daily Show producers have communicated daily with other New York-based late-night shows, who will also be moving forward without an audience beginning Monday.”

“As of this coming Sunday, March 15, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver will film without a live, in-studio audience.,” HBO said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“We are taking this precaution in accordance with best practices as outlined by New York City officials. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen is too suspending live audiences, beginning next week. A Bravo spokesperson said in a statement to ET, “The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority.  As a precautionary measure, starting Sunday, March 15 we have decided to suspend live audiences for Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. Per guidance from New York City officials, the company is hoping to do its part to help to decrease the rate of transmission in our communities.  Our shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates.”

On top of that, a source close to the productions of both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune previously confirmed to ET that there are currently no audiences for either show due to health concerns.

The source also said that there will be no audiences for either show indefinitely. However, both shows will continue to tape and are slated to continue filming through mid-April.

As concern continues to grow over the worldwide spread of COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, many are taking proactive measures to keep themselves safe from the flu-like illness, which can be fatal in the most extreme cases.

One of the reasons for the decision to forego live audiences, and the abundance of caution over the virus, stems from Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Variety reports.

Trebek’s health condition — which leaves the 79-year-old TV icon with a compromised immune system — means the virus could pose a much higher risk to his well-being.

Two other reported factors that played in the decision relate to the average age of live audience members, which generally tends to skewer older, and the fact that they often fly in from out of town to attend tapings.

On Tuesday, The Wendy Williams Show followed suit, and announced that the show will continue to tape new episodes every day, only without a live audience.

“Wendy values her co-hosts and their daily participation but in light of the current health climate, The Wendy Williams Show will not have a live studio audience until further notice,” a spokesperson for Williams’ daytime talk show confirmed to ET. “We will continue to produce a daily live talk show and look forward to welcoming the studio audience back when the time is right.”

CNN similarly announced that they would not have a live audience at the upcoming Democratic presidential debate on Sunday, and that media coverage of the event would also be impacted.

“CNN’s top priority is the safety of our employees and community members. This extends to guests planning to attend or cover our debate on March 15,” the network announced in a statement posted to social media on Tuesday. “At the request of the campaigns and out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to eliminate the live debate audience, the press filing center and the spin room in Phoenix. We encourage you to tune in to the debate at 8 p.m. ET.”

The Ellen DeGeneres Show also announced on Wednesday that it will begin taping episodes without an audience beginning Monday, March 16.

“With the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, and out of concern for our audience attending The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Telepictures will suspend audience attendance during tapings effective Monday, March 16,” a Telepictures spokesperson said in a statement. “This temporary measure will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and will not impact the production schedule of Ellen.”

The coronavirus epidemic has had an ever-increasing impact on showbusiness over the past month. Musical acts like Miley Cyrus, BTS, Green Day and Avril Lavigne have canceled tour dates in countries with high levels of coronavirus cases while film and television projects like Mission: Impossible 7The Amazing Race and the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have shut down production. 

The outbreak has even led to movies being rescheduled — including the upcoming James Bond epic, No Time to Die, which has its planned premiere cancelled and its release date pushed back from April to November over health concerns.

Film and music festivals — including SXSW in Austin, Texas — have been postponed or outright cancelled, and on Monday, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced that they have postponed their upcoming media summit for the Tokyo Olympic Games, which were originally going to be held from Mar. 15-18 in Los Angeles.

In the United States, there have been over 970 reported cases of the virus, which has led to 30 known deaths thus far

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