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‘Wheel of Fortune,’ ‘Jeopardy!’ halt live audience tapings over coronavirus threat

Host Alex Trebek with the three contestants in January's "Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time" tournament.
(Eric McCandless / ABC)

The hit game shows “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” are suspending tapings in front of live audiences for a time as a precaution related to the coronavirus.

Sources close to the show said the move was partly undertaken to better 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.

Both series are produced by Sony Pictures Television. Spokespersons for the company declined to comment.

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The move comes as the entertainment industry scrambles to adjust to the spread of the virus, which has led to the cancellation of SXSW and other major events. CBS’ globetrotting competition series “The Amazing Race” suspended production on its 33rd season last month as a precautionary measure.

According to sources, the average age of an audience member for “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune,” which tape at Sony’s Culver City lot, is over 60. Many audience members are from out of state.

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.


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