One surefire way to retard the spread of a deadly pathogen is to limit situations in which multiple people will be placed near each other in an enclosed space. Unfortunately for the TV industry, that means that productions that include a live audience may have to rethink the practice as coronavirus spreads.
Peteski Productions, which, along with CBS Television Distribution, produces and distributes the Dr. Phil show, is one of the productions that is rethinking the tradition of having a live audience during filming of the show.
Carla Pennington, Dr. Phil‘s executive producer, says that the show will be recorded without a live audience until further notice.
“The health of our audience members, staff and crew are the priority,” she said.
The studio in which Dr. Phil is recorded holds about 300 audience members and there are dozens of crew people and technicians required to get the show up and running. Tapings are held Monday through Wednesday on a Paramount lot in Hollywood.
Dr. Phil joins Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune in forgoing a live audience until further notice.
As TMZ reports, executives behind both game shows decided to ditch live studio audiences until further notice while coronavirus spreads, and both for similar reasons. Namely, it’s because, in addition to cramming hundreds of people into a tight space, the two game shows attract an audience that is particularly at-risk for contracting COVID-19, the respiratory disease that derives from coronavirus. Both shows’ audiences are older — and older people are at greater risk of contracting the disease and/or suffering complications from it. And, both shows’ audiences tend to come from out of town to see tapings, and right now unnecessary travel is being discouraged.
As regards Jeopardy, there’s an even more specific reason for shutting down live audiences: host Alex Trebek is battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and as such, his immune system is compromised. Producers do not want to risk the host contracting the virus from an audience member.
Outside of the TV industry, at least one other industry has latched on to the idea of putting out its product without a live audience: Italian soccer.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Italy’s top-tier soccer league, Serie A, is holding its matches inside empty stadiums as the entire country is now quarantined due to coronavirus.