Not only are many broadcast-TV series seeing their current runs end abruptly, they may need to start production on their next seasons later than usual, as any end date for quarantine/social distancing guidelines remains very much up in the air.
Specifically in Vancouver, which is home to nearly 20 TV productions, government officials do not foresee life returning to any semblance of normal until the summer, meaning that the shows that traditionally start back up production in late June/early July would have to cool their heels for at least a little bit (if not longer).
“It’s more and more [unlikely] that we’re going to be able to get back to full normal life… before at least the summer, and then we need to start preparing ourselves for the potential of a second wave in the fall,” British Columbia provincial chief health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters on Tuesday.
For the current TV season, ABC’s Vancouver-based A Million Little Things and The Good Doctor last year returned to work as early as mid-June, while The CW’s The Flash, Riverdale, Batwoman and Supergirl and others launched production in late June/the first days of July.
Update: Toronto, which is home to series such as Titans, The Boys and Star Trek: Discovery, similarly has laid out a 12-week plan to continue COVID-19 preventative measures.
The bright side (…if there is one) is that getting a late jump on next season doesn’t necessarily mean that new episodes will in turn hit our screens later. After all, the episodes that won’t be ready to air this spring (see TVLine’s handy list of shortened seasons) are either already filmed (but aren’t able to go through post-production) or at least written. So those shows won’t be starting from scratch once they get the “all clear.” Whenever that might be.
Midseason series will enjoy a bit more breathing room, since they typically start up production toward the end July, if not later. The broadcast networks won’t announce their fall vs. midseason premiere plans until the Upfronts in mid-May. Probably. But who knows? We’re in the Wild West now, folks. Any and all follow-up questions are still a bit premature.