Coronavirus: Stephen Colbert, more late night suspend production; 'AGT,' 'Family Feud' nix live audience
One day after choosing to tape shows without studio audiences, three major late-night talk shows have decided to suspend production of new episodes until at least March 30 due to the coronavirus risk.
Late Thursday, CBS's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" announced plans to postpone three original episodes planned for next week, leading into a week-long scheduled hiatus during the week of March 23. The show will monitor the situation, with plans to return March 30.
Earlier Thursday NBC's “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers' “Late Night,” said they would suspend production through their previously planned hiatus, also scheduled for the week of March 23.
For Thursday, “The Tonight Show” taped an original episode without an audience, with guests Dr. Oz, Mandy Moore and Dane DeHaan. “Late Night” is subbing in an encore episode Thursday night. A new “Closer Look” will be posted as a digital exclusive.
NBC said it will monitor the situation before making a decision about when to resume production.In daytime talk, "The Wendy Williams Show" informed staffers late Thursday that production will be put on hold indefinitely.
On Thursday, ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," CBS's "The Late Late Show with James Corden" and HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" became the latest – and last – major talk shows to go audience-free as officials seek to slow the spread of the coronavirus. They will stop hosting studio audiences with Monday's shows, when the syndicated "Ellen DeGeneres Show," also based in Los Angeles, also goes crowd-free.
They join all New York-based news and talk shows in adopting plans to episodes without studio audiences. The moves are described as temporary but open-ended, although all shows will remain in production.
Besides "The Late Show," "The Tonight Show" and "Late Night," New York shows taking the no-audience course include HBO's "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver," and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Trevor Noah," along with TBS' "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" and Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen."
Others shows also also deciding to take measures due to the coronavirus.
Television company Freemantle announced Thursday that, effective immediately, they will stop filming in front of live audiences for current productions "America's Got Talent" and "Family Feud."
The statement added that they will be suspending production of "The Price Is Right" for the short term, as "live audiences are integral to the format" of the show.
For similar reasons, they are also postponing the start of production for Season 2 of "Card Sharks."
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Earlier Wednesday, Walt Disney confirmed that its own news and talk shows, including ABC's "The View" and "Good Morning America" and the syndicated "Live With Kelly and Ryan" and "Tamron Hall," will go audience-free indefinitely. So will NBC's "Today," as of Thursday.
“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," Disney said in a statement.
Among other affected shows: "One Day at a Time" will tape episodes in Culver City, California, without a studio audience, USA TODAY confirmed Tuesday with a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly.
"Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" have begun taping shows without audiences, USA TODAY confirmed. The game shows will continue that practice indefinitely.
"Dr. Phil" changed its practices Tuesday: The CBS daytime talk show announced it will nix having an audience indefinitely.
"The health of our audience members, staff and crew are the priority," the show's executive producer Carla Pennington said in a statement to USA TODAY.
The coronavirus also affects production of TV shows that don't have studio audiences. USA TODAY confirmed a Deadline story Tuesday that Disney shut down production of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" in Prague after the Czech Republic city closed schools and instituted restrictions on events and travel. According to Deadline, the Disney Plus series from Marvel, which mostly shoots in Atlanta, was filming in Prague for about a week.
During a recent episode, CBS' daytime staple "The Price is Right" included a coronavirus-related message in connection with travel prizes to places subject to travel advisories by the CDC, USA TODAY confirmed.
"This episode was recorded prior to the outbreak of COVID-19," a disclaimer read during the credits. "Travel prizes in regions affected by COVID-19 may be fulfilled with alternative arrangements. For more information on COVID-19, please visit the CDC's website."
More than 128,000 cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide across more than 100 countries and regions, and more than 4,700 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
For most people, coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Longtime "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek, 79, hit the one-year mark in his battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, so the precaution may be viewed as a way to keep him healthy. "The one-year survival rate for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer patients is 18%. I'm very happy to report I have just reached that marker," Trebek said in a video last week.
"Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak, 73, underwent emergency surgery in November after suffering from a blocked intestine.
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Contributing: Gary Levin, Charles Trepany, Cydney Henderson and Grace Hauck, USA TODAY; The Associated Press; Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Arizona Republic.