Just a day after announcing that they would be taping their shows without a studio audience, NBC has announced that both The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and Late Night With Seth Meyers will halt production effective immediately. According to Entertainment Weekly, the pause is the result of concerns about the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, and is expected to last at least until March 30.
Entertainment Weekly suggests that it’s very possible that the pause could be extended, but that a final decision will be made as the date approaches. Fallon will tape his regularly-planned live show on Thursday without a studio audience before airing reruns starting on Friday.
Meyers was planning to tape a show on Thursday, but those plans changed very quickly as concerns about the spread of the virus continued to escalate. Instead of taping a show, Meyers released a “Closer Look” segment to YouTube, explaining that they had written the segment before production on Thursday’s show was canceled.
“Hey, everybody. Welcome to Late Night casual Thursdays,” Meyers says at the start of the clip, referencing the casual attire he’s sporting for the segment.
“Things are moving very fast, I don’t need to tell you that, and our guests, with great reason, decided that they didn’t feel right coming in and doing the show tonight, so we decided to cancel it. And we don’t know when we’ll start to do shows again,” Meyers explains.
He continues by saying that the “Closer Look” segment that they had already developed focused on President Trump’s response to the Coronavirus, so they felt it was worth filming, before joking that the real reason was that it was already on the cue cards.
Late Night and The Tonight Show are just two of the latest examples of shows with live audiences responding to the threat of coronavirus spreading. Full Frontal With Samantha Bee filmed its normal Wednesday night show without a live audience, and Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune also made announcements that they would be taping shows without an audience. The Daily Show With Trevor Noah has also announced that it will go audience free.
The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, meanwhile, just announced that it would also be halting production until March 30, and Real Time With Bill Maher is planning to start filming episodes without an audience this Friday, March 13, according to Vulture. The announcements are just one way that fears around the spread of the coronavirus are impacting the world of entertainment.