Due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaders in the states with large infected populations, such as California and New York, have urged 100 percent of non-essential workers to stay home until the spread of COVID-19 is under control. And as much as your favorite shows might feel essential, that means a halt on production for most TV.
That's particularly true of late night shows like Stephen Colbert's, which are taped before live studio audiences. For a while, production had continued without the laughter of viewers in the Ed Sullivan Theatre where The Late Show tapes, but now the CBS talk show is on hiatus, as is virtually every other non-news program, with no clear outlook on when they will be coming back.
So when is Stephen Colbert coming back?
When the show went into hiatus on March 12, along with other late-night shows that tape in New York City, the network said the halt in production would continue until at least March 30. However, this, like much these days, is an ever-evolving situation, and the hiatus could drag on much longer.
Basically, the show will likely be out of production for as long as it takes for New York City to flatten the curve of new diagnoses. Unfortunately, as of today's writing, that doesn't appear to be happening yet and the number of new cases reported continues to grow exponentially. It's becoming increasingly clear the situation will not be under control by the end of the month.
Still, Stephen Colbert and other late night hosts have been getting creative with ways to connect with their audiences during this shared time of isolation and uncertainty. On Monday, March 16, The Late Show was a rerun, but it began with a new monologue... taped from Stephen's bathtub.
Touting it as the "very special social distancing edition of The Late Show," Stephen made his usual topical jokes and also gave us a hilarious window into how he's spending his time at home. Other hosts of late night programming have been sharing new content recorded at home across their social media channels and on YouTube.
For example, Jimmy Fallon, for the last three nights, has had a The Tonight Show: At-Home Edition filmed at his home, with guests appearing via video chat. In addition to providing some much needed levity to viewers, Jimmy is also using the videos to raise money for a different charity each time.
And Jimmy Kimmel has also been posting "minilogues" as his staff work from home, and has even had a couple guests stop by (via video chat), like his buddy Guillermo and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
If things stretch on like this much longer, this could become the new normal. This is a developing story, so we will update as new details emerge on when The Late Show and other shows resume production.
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.