Coronavirus response: Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon to tape shows with no audience

The precaution begins Monday for five New York-based late-night shows hoping to slow the transmission of Covid-19.

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Stephen Colbert appears before the Ed Sullivan Theatre audience during a “Late Show” taping in New York.


Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and New York’s other late-night TV hosts have adopted plans to tape episodes without studio audiences, starting Monday, as the spread of the coronavirus escalates. 

Although they reported no specific cases of staffers afflicted by the virus, CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” NBC’s “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” say they will begin taping shows without an audience next week.

Following “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,” said NBC spokeswoman Allison Rawlings, in a statement. “Our shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates.”

Earlier Wednesday, Walt Disney Co. confirmed that its own news and talk shows, including ABC’s “The View” and the syndicated “Live with Kelly and Ryan” and “Tamron Hall,” will go audience-free indefinitely.

And CBS says it will delay production on the 41st season of “Survivor,” due to begin filming in Fiji, and is tentatively planning to begin on May 19. That follows the earlier scuttling of production on globe-trotting reality series ”The Amazing Race,” after three episodes had been completed. 

The coronavirus risk has affected other shows, too. “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” have begun taping shows without audiences, and the game shows will continue that practice indefinitely.

”Dr. Phil” changed its practices Tuesday: The daytime talk show announced it will nix having an audience indefinitely.

”The health of our audience members, staff and crew are the priority,” the show’s executive producer Carla Pennington said in a statement. 

”The Wendy Williams Show” also decided to go without a studio audience “in light of the current health climate,” a spokesperson confirmed. The show’s producers said they will welcome live audiences back “when the time is right.”


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