Concerns over the coronavirus pandemic have been wreaking havoc throughout the entertainment and sports industries in recent days, and now that includes the world of soap operas. On Friday, it was revealed that General Hospital has halted production due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 situation.
According to Deadline, ABC has officially decided to halt filming for General Hospital for a short period of time. For now, the network explains, they are planning to suspend production starting on Monday, March 16. At this point, they anticipate having the cast and crew return to work again beginning on Monday, April 13.
How will this production hiatus impact what General Hospital viewers see in the coming days and weeks? At this point, the network does not anticipate any disruptions in the regular schedule of new General Hospital episodes.
This decision about General Hospital comes shortly after announcements emerged regarding similar halts with other ABC shows. For example, the next season of The Bachelorette was supposed to begin filming Friday night. Now, however, filming for Clare Crawley's season has been put on hold with no definitive decisions made yet regarding when, or if, filming will start.The good news is that what General Hospital fans see on-screen isn't going to be impacted, at least not yet. However, fans know that this is just the latest in a string of interruptions for the show over the past few months. There were numerous preemptions during the televised Trump impeachment hearings before and after the holidays, throwing off the schedule and ultimately pushing pre-taped episodes out by a week or so.
It could be that this filming suspension will essentially even things out in regard to the pre-taped content and schedule interruptions from a couple of months ago. If the General Hospital filming hiatus needs to go past April 13, however, it seems that might change.
This General Hospital decision comes amid a cluster of similar announcements about other shows, both on ABC and other networks. In addition, numerous sports leagues have announced holds for their seasons as well.
TVLine is maintaining a running list of shows that have stopped production due to the coronavirus pandemic. The list covers a broad range of content producers and types of shows, from daytime to reality television to late night and serial dramas. Given the timing of these filming stoppages, reports indicate that some primetime shows will end up one or two episodes short for the season.
The action has been intense on General Hospital in recent weeks, and viewers have been glad to get some momentum going after the schedule interruptions earlier this year. Fans will be hoping that the cast and crew can return to work in April as anticipated so that they don't have to face another break in the drama later this spring.