Late Night Shows Nix Live Audiences Over Coronavirus Concerns

Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, John Oliver and Trevor Noah will halt live audience tapings.

Beginning Monday, numerous late-night shows will suspend taping before live audiences in a move to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

In New York, NBC programs “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah,” CBS’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” and “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen” on Bravo will cease to host studio audiences, the networks announced Wednesday. Additionally, a Fox News spokesperson confirmed the network’s late-night comedy show “The Greg Gutfeld Show” would also drop its studio audience.

The networks each released similar statements confirming the cautionary move, citing guidance from New York City officials to decrease the rate of community transmission. Shows will continue to film and air on their regular schedules.

Bee quipped on Twitter that she’s using her imagination to cope with the lack of audience.

Los Angeles-based late shows “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Late Late Show With James Corden” followed suit on Thursday, with ABC and CBS announcing that they too would bar studio audiences come Monday.

Daytime talk shows including “Good Morning America,” “The Wendy Williams Show,” “The Ellen Show,” “Dr. Phil,” and “The View” will also forgo live studio audiences in light of the health crisis.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo moved to ban gatherings of 500 people or more on Thursday, and in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom banned groups of 250 or more in an announcement late Wednesday night. As of Thursday afternoon, more than 1,500 people had been infected with COVID-19 nationwide, and at least 39 patients with the virus had died.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic, defined as a “sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.”

Health officials advise that elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions avoid travel, public areas and gatherings. Scores of conferences, sporting events, music festivals and political events have been canceled or postponed as precautionary measures.

The NBA announced a suspension of the remainder of its season Wednesday when a Utah Jazz player tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA had initially considered playing its games but to empty arenas.