The ripple effect of the new coronavirus on the entertainment industry on Wednesday reached late-night TV.
In a statement Wednesday, NBC said it was suspending live audiences for Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers” starting Monday, citing the safety of guests and employees as the “top priority.” CBS announced that “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” also will tape without an in-studio audience, as did Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” and HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
“For the past several weeks, ‘The Late Show’ producers have consulted daily to share information with other New York-based late night shows, who will also be moving forward without an audience,” CBS said in a statement. The shows’ broadcasts will be unaffected.
Earlier Wednesday, "The Wendy Williams Show" and several New York-based Walt Disney Television / ABC series including "The View," "Live with Kelly and Ryan," "Good Morning America" and "Tamron Hall" announced they will air without live audiences.
A Disney TV representative told Newsday in a statement, “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.”
Hall on Wednesday tweeted, “Today’s episode of ‘Tamron Hall’ was taped before a studio audience yesterday afternoon.”
"Wendy values her co-hosts and their daily participation but in light of the current health climate, 'The Wendy Williams Show' will not have a live studio audience until further notice," the syndicated series' representative told Newsday in a statement Wednesday. "We will continue to produce a daily live talk show and look forward to welcoming the studio audience back when the time is right."
"So I get the call yesterday afternoon and they were calling like doom and gloom," Williams, 55, said Wednesday on her live show, evidently referring to production and distribution executives. Instead of a regular audience, about three dozen crew members filled a majority of the seats at her West 26th Street studio in Manhattan. "These are the people who support me and this entire production every day," she said of her staff, to their applause. "And the ones who aren't here, it's only because they're in the control room pushing buttons or answering the front phone."
She added, "I've been told this is going to be going on for a few weeks.” Referring to the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday canceling its upcoming conference "Doing Business Under Coronavirus" in New York, Williams noted, "If the corona[virus] officials are canceling meetings, what are we still doing?"
The Associated Press said Tuesday that in response to the ongoing virus outbreak, the game shows "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune” are shooting without audiences at their Culver City, California, studios. The shows are recorded months in advance, so the change will not be immediately be noticeable to home viewers. A representative for the daytime talk show "Dr. Phil" announced Tuesday that the Los Angeles-shot show would forgo a studio audience for about two weeks.