As the coronavirus outbreak worsens, late-night is going staff and guests only.
On Wednesday, multiple New York-based productions — including The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah —announced they would begin taping without live audiences starting March 16. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, set to film this evening, will do the same effective immediately.
Local officials are currently reporting 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within New York City limits. The precaution against the spread of coronavirus has already been taken by numerous daytime talk shows in the area. The View, Live with Kelly and Ryan, Tamron Hall, and Rachael Ray began filming without in-studio audiences today.
A chilling clip of The View host Whoopi Goldberg greeting a sea of empty chairs and an Instagram post of Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa preparing to perform for their small staff piqued concern among fans. Both shows acknowledged the strange setup on-air — with Seacrest quipping, “This is going to be an embarrassing hour. It feels like we’re doing a pilot.”
Whoopi Goldberg repeating “welcome to The View” to empty audience chairs is both peak apocalypse horror and high camp.50.7K8:36 PM – Mar 11, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy8,666 people are talking about this
The “social distancing” tactic mirrors numerous other entertainment industry decisions in recent days, among them the cancelations of SXSW and E3 2020, the delayed release of MGM and Universal’s No Time To Die, and the barring of fans from NCAA tournaments.
“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority,” NBC said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter. “Per guidance from New York City officials, the company is hoping to do its part to help to decrease the rate of transmission in our communities. Our shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates.”
CBS shared similar sentiments on behalf of The Late Show, adding the precautionary measure was not cause for alarm among recent studio visitors.
“There have not been any specific developments at The Ed Sullivan Theater to cause concern for audiences with plans to attend the show tonight, tomorrow, or who have attended in recent weeks,” the statement read, again per The Hollywood Reporter.
“For several weeks, the team at the theater has been taking all necessary precautions to protect everyone who enters and works in the theater with enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures.”
At the time of writing, additional information on the statuses of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Los Angeles-based productions like The Late Late Show with James Corden and Jimmy Kimmel Live! was not available.
Notably, some productions, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show based in Burbank, reportedly have plans to maintain audience attendance by introducing health screenings for attendees at studio doors.