COVID-19 shutdown: What's going on with 'Bachelorette,' 'Ninja,' 'Big Brother,' other summer favorites?
As the COVID-19 TV production shutdown continues, TV program lineups are increasingly works in progress.
While broadcast networks look forward to the fall – or perhaps more realistically, the winter – to launch their full 2020-21 schedules, viewers already are feeling the effects of programming shifts, most notably the absence of familiar summer friends.
You won't see a number of last summer's fan favorites in the coming months due to the coronavirus shutdown, either because they couldn't film or because they were moved to bolster fall and winter schedules. Hollywood must reach certain health benchmarks and institute substantial protective measures before production can resume, so it's not clear when sidelined shows will start filming again.
For now, however, viewers will have to adjust to a summer without some staples, in some cases having nothing to do with COVID-19. HBO dramas "Euphoria" and "Succession," which built and expanded fan bases last summer, weren't scheduled to return this summer. Both were nearing the start of production in the spring, however, and the shutdown likely means even longer before we see new episodes.
So, what's going to be missing or altered this summer due to the pandemic? Let's take a look at some significant shows:
"The Bachelorette" (ABC): The pandemic indefinitely delayed the May debut of Clare Crawley in the title role, but ABC alternative programming chief Rob Mills still hopes to film Season 16 this summer. He's even talked about the possibility of testing and quarantining Crawley, her suitors and crew for on-set production. When the show's next season airs depends on when it is filmed. In the meantime, ABC is offering "The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons Ever," with clips from some of the most dramatic moments from the series.
"Bachelor in Paradise" (ABC): With producers focused on the franchise's tentpoles, "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette," this offshoot, an August perennial where previous contestants get a second shot at love in an idyllic tropical setting, is a lesser priority and likely won't air this summer.
"The Amazing Race" (CBS): Season 32 of the Emmy-winning popular travel competition was ready for a summer launch, but CBS pushed it to an undetermined date this fall. In late February, CBS halted production of Season 33 after filming three episodes and making stops in England and Scotland, due to coronavirus concerns. (Starting July 8, fans can get a Phil Keoghan fix with CBS' "Tough as Nails," a strength and endurance competition involving firefighters, welders and others with physically demanding jobs and featuring the "Race" host as host and executive producer.)
"Big Brother" (CBS): Fans will surely miss this summer staple when its traditional late June premiere rolls around, but the network is still planning for Season 22. It's just not clear when that will happen.
"Love Island" (CBS): Summer seems like the perfect time for a dating show featuring beautiful young people at a sun-splashed island villa, but this U.K. adaptation, originally scheduled to return in May, might not arrive during swimsuit season. CBS plans to make it at some point, perhaps filming at a different location from Season 1, which took place in Fiji.
"America's Got Talent" (NBC): Summer's top-rated show is airing now, but viewers will see coronavirus-influenced modifications as the season goes on. The talent competition had to shift gears in March, moving from auditions filmed in front of large crowds to those conducted without a studio audience, with Simon Cowell and his fellow judges evaluating remotely. Taped audition episodes are running now and the show plans to complete Season 15, although it remains to be seen how the series will be produced when live shows are scheduled to begin in August.
"American Ninja Warrior" (NBC): More than 100 contestants and family members gathered in Los Angeles in March to start the obstacle-course competition, but the shutdown forced them to return home before filming began. Production remains dormant and a summer edition seems unlikely.
"So You Think You Can Dance" (Fox): Production was suspended just as filming was beginning for this popular dance competition. Other Fox summer offerings, including "MasterChef" and "Mental Samurai," met a similar fate.
"Beat Shazam" (Fox): Jamie Foxx's interactive music game show had completed filming its season, but it's been pushed from summer to a later date. The latest edition of "Cosmos," hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and "Flirty Dancing," a new dating/dance show hosted by Jenna Dewan, were also recorded and scheduled for summer before being pulled back for later broadcast.
"Shameless" (Showtime): This long-running series centering on dysfunctional Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) and his struggling family wasn't able to start filming its 11th and final season, which was scheduled for summer, so production and scheduling remain up in the air.
"Billions" (Showtime): This drama about warfare in the world of high finance returned for Season 5 in May, having completed seven of 12 episodes before production stopped. The series will go on hiatus after Sunday, with the remaining five episodes to be filmed and broadcast later. Another Showtime series, "Black Monday," which took a scheduling break in April after six episodes, will return for the final four on June 28.
"Jeopardy!" (syndication): Alex Trebek's venerable game show wraps up a four-week package of new episodes Friday, but more Season 36 originals, traditionally interspersed with reruns during the dog days, aren't available because of the production stoppage.
"Wheel of Fortune" (syndication): The "Jeopardy!" tag-team mate, hosted by Pat Sajak, wasn't able to complete filming its 37th season, but it has some unaired original episodes that will be mixed in with reruns over the summer.