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Television

‘Stranger Things,’ ‘SNL’ halt production over coronavirus threat

“Stranger Things”
“Stranger Things” joins the list of TV series to halt production to stop the spread of coronavirus.
(Bonnie Osborne / ABC)

In the wake of the World Health Organization characterizing the outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus as a pandemic, TV shows in a variety of genres took steps to protect talent, crew and studio audiences from exposure. NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and Warner Bros., among others, have announced broad production stoppages, while others have specified the shows being shut down.

From late-night comedy to Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” keep tabs on which TV shows have been affected by the coronavirus with our at-a-glance guide.

Although no permits have been canceled, a few productions in L.A. have voluntarily modified filming schedules due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

Reality shows

  • Fremantle Media announced Saturday that its competition series “America’s Got Talent” has wrapped production on its Season 15 audition rounds early, leading into a scheduled hiatus. Game show “Family Feud” will suspend filming effective immediately. On Thursday, the production company had announced it was postponing production on Season 2 of its game show “Card Sharks” and suspending entirely filming of “The Price Is Right” “for the short term,” saying “live audiences are integral to [its] format.”
  • Network CBS and the producers announced 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. In addition, production on the next season of fellow CBS reality series “Survivor,” scheduled to begin later this month, has reportedly been postponed until at least May in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • 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.
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Game and talk shows

  • The game shows “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” 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” and “The Wendy Williams Show.”
  • Syndicated talk show “Dr. Phil” has indefinitely suspended its live-audience tapings on the paramount lot in Hollywood, which usually draw 300 audience members Monday through Wednesday. “The health of our audience members, staff and crew are the priority,” executive producer Carla Pennington said in a statement. Fellow CBS Television Distribution program “Rachael Ray” taped Wednesday without an audience before going on a previously scheduled week-and-a-half hiatus, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.
  • “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is suspending production through March 30, host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted on Friday. It is joined by “The Tamron Hall Show” and daytime soap opera “General Hospital,” Disney Television Studios announced Friday.

  • There will be no live audience for the popular “Fox & Friends” program “for the foreseeable future,” Fox News Chief Executive Suzanne Scott and Fox News President Jay Wallace wrote in an email to staff members.

Late-night shows

  • The following late-night shows have suspended production through March 30: Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” and “Lights Out With David Spade,” NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” CBS’ “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen.” HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” and “Real Time With Bill Maher” will be on hiatus as of Monday for an unspecified length of time.


Scripted series

  • The following FX series have had production paused or delayed, per the network: “Snowfall,” “Atlanta,” “Y” and “Fargo,” the latter of which is a co-production with MGM. “American Crime Story: Impeachment,” the next installment of the FX franchise that will focus on the impeachment of President Clinton, was set to start production in April but has been put on pause as well.
  • Netflix will pause production in the U.S. and Canada for at least two weeks on all scripted TV and films. Productions that will be affected include “Stranger Things” and “Grace and Frankie,” as well as the upcoming action film “Red Notice,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.
  • ABC’s long-running hospital melodrama “Grey’s Anatomy,” created by Shonda Rhimes, has postponed production effective immediately and for at least three weeks, as has Emmy hopeful “Genius: Aretha,” starring Cynthia Erivo, and 16 pilots. Other Disney Television Studios productions that have halted production for that period include “American Housewife,” “Big Shot,” “Empire,” “Last Man Standing,” “The Orville,” “Pose,” “The Resident” and “Queen of the South.”
  • Production on AppleTV+’s The Morning Show,” which stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, will go on a precautionary two-week hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak. The series films on the Sony Lot in Culver City. The series was in the early stages of production on Season 2.
  • “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.

  • On Wednesday, Warner Bros. Television announced the suspension of production on The CW’s “Riverdale” in Vancouver “out of an abundance of caution” after a team member on the series came into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. The team member in question is currently receiving medical evaluation, according to Warner Bros.
  • Disney+ Marvel series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” reportedly cut short a location shoot in Prague after the Czech government put in place restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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


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