The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has already caused massive upheavals for many shows that film in front of live, studio audiences. Some, like The Tonight Show and Last Week Tonight, have elected to halt production entirely in response to the crisis. Others have pushed forward, and simply forgone the studio audiences that they usually have.
‘Live With Kelly and Ryan’ is now filming without an audience.
The response to the coronavirus escalated very quickly. It’s been less than a week since the NBA announced that it was postponing its season indefinitely, and it was that same day, March 11, that Live announced it would be filming without its usual studio audience.
At the top of their show on March 11, Ryan Seacrest addressed the lack of an audience head on. “As you can see, things are a little different here today, given the developing situation in New York with the coronavirus,” Seacrest said. “The decision was made to suspend audiences from our show.”
For that show, the audience was composed only of a stripped-down team of producers who were necessary to make the show run.
Kelly Ripa also chimed in, suggesting that fans should continue watching at home even if they couldn’t join the hosts in the studio. “While we don’t have our regular studio audience, except for some of our producers… that shouldn’t stop everyone from watching at home. Because, let’s face it: You can’t go anywhere else!,” she said.
‘Live’ was not the only daytime talk show to forgo a studio audience.
In addition to Live, shows like The View and Rachael Ray also began filming without studio audiences. The shows, which are filmed under the umbrella of Walt Disney Television, did not make it clear when they would begin letting audiences return to tapings.
“Given the current developing situation in New York City, we have made the decision to suspend live audiences from attending our news broadcasts and talk shows,” a spokesperson for Walt Disney TV said.
Other shows have halted production entirely due to the coronavirus.
While some shows have stopped filming with live audiences in response to the crisis, other shows have stopped taping altogether. Tamron Hall, The Kelly Clarkson Show, and The Talk are all airing reruns at the moment in order to decrease the risk of the illness spreading among the shows’ staff and hosts. The same was also true across the board on late night. Every major late night talk show has suspended production, and most have made it clear that they don’t have any idea when they’ll be back.
That announcement comes as most film and television studios halt filming on TV series and movies that have been in production. Now, as many people self-quarantine and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus, it seems some sources of entertainment are set to dry up, at least temporarily. Lots of half-finished content is likely to be delayed, which means that pre-existing shows and movies may be the best bet for those locked inside.