Citing the highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus pandemic, Fox Broadcasting has canceled its live New Year's Eve Times Square special, which had been scheduled to star hosts Ken Jeong and Joel McHale and correspondent Kelly Osborne.
"While we are confident in the health and safety protocols for 'Fox's New Year's Eve Toast & Roast 2022,' the recent velocity of the spread of omicron cases has made it impossible to produce a live special in Times Square that meets our standards," the Fox network said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon.
"We will not be moving forward with Fox's New Year's Eve Toast & Roast 2022 in New York," it continued. "The health and safety of our casts and crews has always been, and will continue to be, of the utmost importance."
"Totally agree. Stay safe," tweeted comedian and "The Masked Singer" judge Jeong on Wednesday.
The special had been scheduled to feature musical guests including Trace Adkins performing live, as well as Billy Idol, Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5 and Pink. It had been set to air in two parts, from 8 to 10 p.m. and from 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. With ironic retrospection, it had been humorously billed as "an event two pandemic years in the making."
As of early Wednesday evening, Dec. 31 TV listings for local Fox station WNYW/5 showed the 2019 holiday episode of the game show "Beat Shazam" at 8 p.m., followed by a rerun of the recent holiday episode of the reality show "Gordon Ramsay's Road Trip," followed at 11 by reruns of "The Big Bang Theory" and "Modern Family."
This is the only announced cancellation so far of planned TV New Year's Eve specials. ABC's "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," hosted by Ryan Seacrest with "Katy Keene" and "Ragdoll" star Lucy Hale and singer-actor Billy Porter in Times Square, and singer Ciara in Los Angeles, remains scheduled to run from 8 p.m. to 1:09 a.m. with a half-hour break at 11 for local news. CBS' "New Year's Eve Live: Nashville's Big Bash" remains set for 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. with the same half-hour break. And NBC's "Miley's New Year's Eve Party," hosted by Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson in Miami, airs 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
As well, CNN's "New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen," broadcasting from Times Square, remains scheduled from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and a live New Year's show with Don Lemon and Alisyn Camerota in New Orleans is set to follow from 12:30 to 1:30 a.m.
DAYTIME TALK SHOWS DELAYED "The Wendy Williams Show" and "Nick Cannon," both produced by the company Debmar-Mercury, each issued a similar statement Tuesday, saying, "Due to the growing number of new COVID-19 cases and to ensure a safe return for our crew members and staff," each show will return with live episodes on Jan. 10, a week later than scheduled. "We continue to observe all relevant New York City health and safety protocols, and wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season," each statement added.