Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune are taking precautions against the spread of novel coronavirus: Both programs will tape without a live audience “in the near term,” our sister site Variety reports.
The decision was made for several reasons: Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek is immunocompromised after being diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer last year, putting him at greater risk should he come into contact with the virus. The safety of audience members was also a concern, as they tend to skew older and often have come from out of town, sometimes via a flight, to attend the game shows.
The Sony Pictures Television-produced programs are slated to tape episodes through mid-April.
Coronavirus is also responsible for the cancellation of the South by Southwest festival, which was set to take place March 13-22 in Austin, Texas. And as TVLine reported, executives at several major Hollywood studios are monitoring the outbreak closely with regards to San Diego Comic-Con, which is scheduled to be held five months from now, from Thursday, July 23 to Sunday, July 26. “There’s obviously concern. For now we’re taking a wait-and-see approach,” one unnamed exec at a major studio told TVLine, while a spokesperson for Comic-Con said that the organization “is working with local officials as it pertains to the COVID-19 situation and continues to monitor developments closely.”
To date, there are 423 total confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 26 deaths.