How TV shows are dealing with coronavirus threat

BY LOS ANGELES STAFF/TNS

As the World Health Organization characterized the outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus as a pandemic on Wednesday, TV shows in a variety of genres were taking steps to protect talent, crew and studio audiences from exposure.

The Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that the next Democratic debate between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden will also proceed without a live audience.

From daytime talk shows with “ghost audiences” to a production halt on the travel-heavy reality competition “The Amazing Race,” keep tabs on how the coronavirus is changing TV production with our at-a-glance guide.

Reality shows

Network CBS and the producers announced on Feb. 28 that filming on the 33rd season of world-travel competition series “The Amazing Race” had been halted and contestants and staff sent home over concerns about the threat of the coronavirus.

Audience members for live tapings of “The Bachelor’s” “After the Final Rose” reunion show on Monday and Tuesday were reportedly required to sign a form confirming that they had not recently traveled to the site of a Level 3 outbreak as defined by the CDC; exhibited any symptoms of COVID-19; or been in close contact with someone exhibiting symptoms.

Game and talk shows

The hit game shows “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Forune” will suspend tapings in front of live audiences for a time as a precaution related to the coronavirus, The Times confirmed Tuesday.

Sources close to the shows, which tape at Sony’s Culver City lot, said the move was partly undertaken to protect “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, who is battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Trebek, 79, is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

“Wheel of Fortune” stalwarts Pat Sajak and Vanna White are 73 and 63, respectively. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned that older people are more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Popular ABC daytime talk show “The View” began taping without a live audience Wednesday, drawing comments on social media and from co-host Elisabeth hasselbeck: “The echo is real.”

Other daytime programs to forgo their usual live audiences include “Good Morning America,” “Live With Kelly & Ryan,” “The Tamron Hall Show” and “The Wendy Williams Show.”

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