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TV News Dump: COVID-19 vs. Entertainment
It’s been an insane week all around the world, as the COVID-19 pandemic increasingly makes its presence felt in every walk of life, including the television business.
- NBCUniversal, which produces shows for multiple networks and streaming services in addition to NBC, has suspended production on 35 series, including Dick Wolf’s Chicago shows and Law & Order: SVU, as well as New Amsterdam, The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and many more. (Deadline)
- Studio-based shows that tape in front of a live audience not suspending production have also had to adjust to this new reality: The Wendy Williams Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, and more announced plans to tape shows without a live studio audience. So, you’ll just have to laugh and applaud at home a little louder than you’re used to. Particularly at Dr. Phil. (THR)
- The WWE, whose weekly series Raw and SmackDown are taped in huge arenas in front of super-rowdy crowds who undoubtedly feed the energy of the performers, will broadcast tonight’s SmackDown from its training facility in Orlando, with only essential crew present. In other words, tonight’s SmackDown is likely to be very interesting whether you’re into pro wrestling or not. (Deadline)
- And, as you’ve surely already heard, sports is pretty much canceled for the foreseeable future. Following the lead of the NBA, which suspended its season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, all college basketball conferences canceled their tournaments, the NCAA canceled March Madness, the NHL, MLB, MLS, English Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A all suspended operations, and The Players’ Championship and The Masters were canceled and postponed, respectively. ESports have never looked so good. (The New York Times)
- But look on the bright side: Brad Pitt is going to meet the Property Brothers! (THR)