Coronavirus fears forces “Wendy Williams”, others to pull live studio audiences

Syndicated, network daytime shows latest to pull audiences due to coronavirus

After Sony’s decision to close tapings of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune to the public as of Monday night due to coronavirus concerns, more shows have followed suit as expected.

Tuesday night, Debmar-Mercury and Wendy Williams announced they would not host audiences for their show for now:

Wendy tapes in New York City, where there are 173 reported cases of coronavirus.

Also Tuesday night, ABC and several syndicators announced they would not tape programs in front of live studio audiences for the foreseeable future.

The ban also has extended to Disney’s shows in Manhattan with ABC nixing audiences for Good Morning America (and its afternoon spinoff co-hosted by Michael Strahan), Tamron Hall, Live With Kelly And Ryan and The View.

On the West Coast, CBS Television Distribution’s Dr. Phil is doing likewise. His show tapes on the Paramount lot, its home since 2002 (Paramount and CBS are once again under common ownership thanks to the recent re-combo of Viacom and CBS.) It is not known however, if the audience ban extends to sister show The Doctors, which tapes on the same lot. Sony has also pulled the plug on live audiences for One Day At A Time.

So far, none of the seven late-night talk shows had announced any plans on how to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

Locally, there is also no word on how Disney’s audience ban would affect Windy City Live, WLS-TV’s 1 p.m. talk show. There is also no word on how two other shows who tape with audiences – Warner Bros.’ Judge Mathis and WFLD’s Later With Leon would proceed. Meanwhile, production has halted on Fox’s Next at Cinespace Studios after a production crew member tested positive for coronavirus.

It would be interesting to see how these shows would adapt with studio audiences as many shows – such as Tamron Hall’s – interact with them and is an essential part of the show.

The number of coronavirus cases in Illinois is still nineteen as of this writing, but is expected to rise. The St. Patrick’s Day parades downtown and in the Beverly neighborhood as still scheduled as planned, but events can change at the drop of a hat so keep that in mind. From the looks of things, both are likely to be canceled.

Keep it tuned here to T Dog Media for the latest information on how the coronavirus epidemic is affecting entertainment, sports, and other events. Follow the blog on Twitter @tdogmedia for the latest.


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