Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/Zuma Press/TNS

From 'The View' to 'Jeopardy!,' how TV shows are dealing with coronavirus threat

By Los Angeles Times staff, Los Angeles Times
Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/Zuma Press/TNS

Alex Trebek attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Celebration at Rockefeller Plaza on Feb. 15, 2015.

As the World Health Organization characterized the outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus as a pandemic on Wednesday, TV shows in a variety of genres were taking steps to protect talent, crew and studio audiences from exposure. The Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that the next Democratic debate between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden will also proceed without a live audience.

From daytime talk shows with "ghost audiences" to a production halt on the travel-heavy reality competition "The Amazing Race," keep tabs on how the coronavirus is changing TV production with our at-a-glance guide.

Reality shows

Network CBS and the producers announced on Feb. 28 that filming on the 33rd season of world-travel competition series "The Amazing Race" had been halted and contestants and staff sent home over concerns about the threat of the coronavirus. No restart date for the production has been set.

Audience members for live tapings of "The Bachelor's" "After the Final Rose" reunion show on Monday and Tuesday were reportedly required to sign a form confirming that they had not recently traveled to the site of a Level 3 outbreak as defined by the Centers for Disease Control; exhibited any symptoms of COVID-19; or been in close contact with someone exhibiting symptoms.

Game and talk shows

The hit game shows "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Forune" will suspend tapings in front of live audiences for a time as a precaution related to the coronavirus, The Times confirmed Tuesday. Sources close to the shows, which tape at Sony's Culver City lot, said the move was partly undertaken to protect "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek, who is battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Trebek, 79, is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment. "Wheel of Fortune" stalwarts Pat Sajak and Vanna White are 73 and 63, respectively. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned that older people are more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Popular ABC daytime talk show "The View" began taping without a live audience Wednesday, drawing comments on social media and from co-host Elisabeth hasselbeck: "The echo is real." Other daytime programs to forgo their usual live audiences include "Good Morning America," "Live With Kelly & Ryan," "The Tamron Hall Show" and "The Wendy Williams Show."

A source close to the show told The Times on Wednesday that Bravo's saucy late-night talk show "Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen" will not have a live studio audience until further notice.

Scripted series

"One Day at a Time," which is produced by Sony, will tape without a studio audience until further notice, according to a source close to production. The edict went into effect on Tuesday, following the lead of fellow Sony productions "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune." After being canceled by Netflix last year, the Cuban American reboot of the classic sitcom is slated to premiere on its new network, Pop TV, on March 24.

Times staff writers Meredith Blake, Greg Braxton, Christie D'Zurilla and Yvonne Villarreal contributed to this report.

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