Coronavirus fears: All New York talk shows nix studio audiences

All New York-based late-night shows adopted plans to tape episodes without studio audiences, starting Monday, as the spread of the coronavirus escalates. 

Although they reported no specific cases of staffers afflicted by the virus, CBS’ “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” NBC’s “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” said they will tape shows without an audience next week.

Following “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,” NBC spokeswoman Allison Rawlings said in a statement. “Our shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates.”

"The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" is one of many New York-based talk shows to tape without an audience in the wake of the coronavirus.

Earlier Wednesday, Walt Disney confirmed that its own news and talk shows, including ABC’s “The View” and “Good Morning America” and the syndicated “Live With Kelly and Ryan” and “Tamron Hall,”  will go audience-free indefinitely. So will NBC’s “Today,” as of Thursday. 

“Given the current developing situation in New York City, we have made the decision to suspend live audiences from attending our news broadcasts and talk shows,” Disney said in a statement.

Tamron Hall is among the talk show hosts going audience-free amid the coronavirus crisis.

Among other affected shows: “One Day at a Time” will tape episodes in Culver City, California, without a studio audience, USA TODAY confirmed Tuesday with a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is one of several Warner Bros.-produced shows instituting tighter screening procedures for those hoping to attend tapings. 

 The studio confirmed that shows filmed in front of studio audiences will step up screening procedures to limit the spread of the virus.

At tapings for all Warner Bros. shows, guests must confirm that neither they, nor members of their household, have traveled in the past three weeks to a place given a Level 3 Travel Health Notice by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Tuesday, these places include China, Iran, South Korea and Italy.

In addition to DeGeneres’ daytime talk show, other Warner Bros. programs affected  by the new protocol included “The Bachelor,” which aired its finale in front of a live studio audience Tuesday; NBC’s “The Voice”; CBS sitcom “Mom”; and daytime talk show “The Real.”

“Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” have begun taping shows without audiences, USA TODAY confirmed. The game shows will continue that practice indefinitely.

“Dr. Phil” changed its practices Tuesday: The CBS daytime talk show announced it will nix having an audience indefinitely.

“The health of our audience members, staff and crew are the priority,” the show’s executive producer Carla Pennington said in a statement to USA TODAY. 

“The Wendy Williams Show” also decided to go without a studio audience “in light of the current health climate,” a spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY. The show’s producers said they will welcome live audiences back “when the time is right.”

The restrictions go beyond entertainment programming. The Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that the first head-to-head debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders will take place Sunday in Phoenix without an audience. Fans won’t be able to attend early rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament. 

The coronavirus also affects production of TV shows that don’t have studio audiences. Tuesday, USA TODAY confirmed a Deadline story that Disney shut down production of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” in Prague after the Czech Republic city closed schools and instituted restrictions on events and travel. According to Deadline, the Disney Plus series from Marvel, which mostly shoots in Atlanta, was filming in Prague for about a week. 

During a recent episode, CBS’ daytime staple “The Price is Right” included a coronavirus-related message  in connection with travel prizes to places subject to travel advisories by the CDC, USA TODAY confirmed.

“This episode was recorded prior to the outbreak of COVID-19,” a disclaimer read during the credits. “Travel prizes in regions affected by COVID-19 may be fulfilled with alternative arrangements. For more information on COVID-19, please visit the CDC’s website.”

Coronavirus: Madonna, Pearl Jam, Carlos Santana and more cancel shows amid fears

More than 125,000 cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide across more than 100 countries and regions, and more than 4,500 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

For most people, coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, 79, hit the one-year mark in his battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, so the precaution may be viewed as a way to keep him healthy. “The one-year survival rate for Stage 4 pancreatic cancer patients is 18%. I’m very happy to report I have just reached that marker,” Trebek said in a video last week.

“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak, 73, underwent emergency surgery in November after suffering from a blocked intestine.

Coronavirus is spreading in the USA:Here’s everything to know, from symptoms to how to protect yourself

High-profile events, concerts and movie releases are getting pushed back or canceled to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Monday, Madonna nixed two Madame X shows in France, and Pearl Jam followed suit by announcing the postponement of its North American tour. 

Miley Cyrus, who was set to headline an Australian bushfire relief concert March 13, released a statement saying she’s “no longer travelling to Australia for the show.”

Rocker Neil Young pressed pause on his highly anticipated Crazy Horse tour over the uncertainty of the coronavirus, noting that his “older audience” was a cause for concern. 

Several musicians canceled or postponed concerts – most of them outside the USA – including Queen, Ciara, BTS, Khalid, Mariah Carey, Green Day and more. The South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, was canceled, and the Ultra electronic dance music festival in Miami was postponed.

Contributing: Gary Levin, Charles Trepany, Cydney Henderson and Grace Hauck, USA TODAY; The Associated Press; Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Arizona Republic.

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