More TV shows are going on production hiatuses in order to help contain the spread of COVID-19, while one daytime program is temporarily being replaced by a daily news show devoted to the coronavirus pandemic.
ABC News announced Tuesday that the third hour of "Good Morning America” — the Michael Strahan, Sara Haines and Keke Palmer-hosted "Strahan, Sara & Keke" — will instead be given over to "Pandemic: What You Need to Know," starting Wednesday at 1 p.m. Anchored by Amy Robach, the new program will also air at 4 p.m. as part of "ABC News Live."
The program, featuring the network's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, will address widespread issues caused by the global pandemic and suggest solutions to "those adjusting to a new way of life," the network said in a statement. It will include advice on home schooling and self-care, "conversations with service-based workers and corporate CEOs," and "debunk myths and misinformation spreading online."
Also Tuesday, the official Twitter accounts for the long-running game shows "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" each announced that due to "the increasing concern surrounding COVID-19, we have decided to temporarily suspend production. … The health and well-being of our contestants, staff, and crew are our top priority, and we will continue to monitor the situation as it develops."
The latter show's tweet included a photo of the "Wheel of Fortune" game board with letters spelling out "Stay Healthy Everyone!" Both these Sony Pictures Television shows, which record months in advance, assured, "There will still be new episodes airing! Check your local listings."
Other series being suspended include America's most-watched soap opera, CBS' "The Young and the Restless," also from Sony Pictures Television. Deadline.com on Monday reported that both "Y&R" and the globally popular Bell-Phillip Television-produced "The Bold and the Beautiful" were shutting down the following day for a projected two weeks. Each series has four to six weeks of finished episodes, so viewers will experience no immediate disruption.
Deadline separately reported Monday that the Sony-produced CBS police series "S.W.A.T." would join previously announced Sony series that are suspending production: primetime's "The Blacklist," "The Goldbergs" and "Schooled," the talk show "The Mel Robbins Show" and next year's Amazon series "The Wheel of Time." The trade site said that while the season's penultimate episode of "S.W.A.T." has filmed, the fate of the season finale is uncertain.
And The Hollywood Reporter on Monday, citing an anonymous source, said NBC's venerable late-night sketch series "Saturday Night Live," which utilizes a studio audience, will shut down for three weeks. It had been scheduled to return March 28 with host John Krasinski. NBC did not respond to a request for comment.