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Television

NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS stop productions in response to coronavirus outbreak

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Mariska Hargitay in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which is produced by Universal Television.
(Heidi Gutman / NBC)

NBCUniversal and several ViacomCBS brands announced broad steps to combat the spread of the coronavirus on Thursday, as Hollywood scrambled to respond to the pandemic.

The former’s Universal Television, Universal Content Productions, Universal Television Alternative Studios and First Run Syndication will pause production for two weeks where possible, after which the situation will be reassessed and a new start date for those titles determined. In other cases, NBCUniversal is accelerating plans to finish physical production.

CBS, Paramount Television Studios and Showtime released a joint statement that they have also begun to postpone production on pilots and current series on a case-by-case basis, “informed by the best information from health experts and government officials.”

“Some productions may continue as long as they do not involve live audiences and/or environments that are considered at risk,” the statement said.

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Warner Bros. Television Group announced similar measures Friday, saying that it would halt production “on some of our 70+ series and pilots currently filming or about to begin.” Disney Television Studios, Netflix and FX Productions also suspended filming on multiple scripted series.

NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. and the ViacomCBS brands did not specify which series would be affected or the exact criteria that would be used to determine whether or not to halt production.

The news comes as talk shows on the West Coast join those in the East in foregoing live, in-studio audiences during tapings and a rapidly expanding number of reality competitions, game shows and scripted series cease or change production plans in order to protect against the coronavirus.


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