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Coronavirus Pandemic: Late Night Shows are Now Closed to Live Audiences

By DA Staff 12 March 2020

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If you still haven’t fully understood the severity of what’s going on in the world right now, here’s some context:

  • On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19, or coronavirus, a pandemic. That essentially means that the disease affects the whole world and, at last count, 114 countries registered coronavirus cases. In simple words, not good.
  • Italy is on lockdown.
  • POTUS has imposed a blanket ban on flights to Europe.
  • As of 11 March, India has quarantined itself from the rest of the world, announcing the suspension of all visas (except for those issued for diplomatic and official purposes) till 15 April.

Wait, if that still doesn’t convey the seriousness of what’s going on in the world right now: Coachella 2020 has been indefinitely postponed. Ditto for IIFA. Also, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, currently in Australia, just got diagnosed with the thing.

COVID-19 is no laughing matter. The disease is highly contagious and, in light of WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ urgent appeal to countries to “take urgent and aggressive action” to contain its spread, things are going to be different. Even in the world of late night TV.

Various late night TV shows (produced by NBC, CBS, TBS, and Bravo in New York City) will be taped without a live audience for the foreseeable future. This includes The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night, The Tonight Show, Full Frontal, Last Week Tonight, The Daily Show, and Desus & Mero. NBC’s Saturday Night Live is on hiatus until 28 March.

NBC, Comedy Central, HBO and CBS have all issued statements about the implementation of this practice, in accordance with guidelines from New York City officials. Currently it is unclear how long late night shows will be closed to live audiences. NBC also added that its “shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates.”

Their full statements:

NBC

“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. As a precautionary measure, starting Monday, March 16, we have decided to suspend live audiences for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Per 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. Our shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates.

COMEDY CENTRAL

From Comedy Central: “Our top priority is the safety of our guests and staff. Beginning Monday, March 16th, Comedy Central’s NY based late night series, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, will film without a live, in-studio audience. This move is being made out of an abundance of caution and concern regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus and per guidance from New York City officials to take appropriate actions. There have been no developments at The Daily Show’s studio to cause concern for audience members who have plans to attend the show tonight or tomorrow. Measures have been taken to protect everyone who enters and works in the office and studio with enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures.”

HBO

“As of this coming Sunday, March 15, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver will film without a live, in-studio audience. We are taking this precaution in accordance with best practices as outlined by New York City officials. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

Of course this particular news doesn’t impact viewers in India. You can just continue watching your favourite late night TV show on YouTube—from the comfort of your own couch, as usual.

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