It has been a wild couple of weeks as the world braced for and dealt with the ubiquitous coronavirus… and TV was not immune to its effects. Studio audiences and live events have been cancelled, productions have been postponed and extra safety measures have been put in place to keep crews and casts safe. Here’s a list of the many delays, cancellations and more.
Coronavirus Effect San Diego Comic Con
SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON
For the first time in 50 years, organizers have announced the cancellation of SDCC; the event will return to the San Diego Convention Center from July 22-25, 2021. “Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures and while we are saddened to take this action, we know it is the right decision,” said SDCC spokesman David Glanzer. “We eagerly look forward to the time when we can all meet again and share in the community we all love and enjoy.”
The organization has also cancelled the fan convention WonderCon, after initially postponing it in March. The next WonderCon will be held from March 26-28, 2021.
Individuals who purchased badges for Comic-Con 2020 will have the option to request a refund or transfer their badges to Comic-Con 2021.
Coronavirus Effect Summer Olympics Tokyo
After initially announcing plans to “step up its scenario planning,” the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to officially postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics. The games were set to take place in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, with NBC handling all broadcast rights via the Peacock network and its sister channels. On March 24, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that he reached an agreement with the IOC to delay the games for about a year. At the latest, they will now be held in Summer 2021, though a more specific timeline has not been announced.
Coronavirus Effect The Amazing Race
THE AMAZING RACE
The CBS competition series’ latest roadblock just took out all of its teams. Production on Season 33 of the Emmy-winning, globe-trotting reality show has officially been suspended. Although the network says no Racers or anyone on the production team have contracted the virus, all contestants and staff have returned home. Three episodes have been filmed so far, but there’s no word yet on when production might resume.
Coronavirus Effect Survivor
Although Fiji has no reported cases of coronavirus, Survivor has delayed production on its next two cycles, Seasons 41 and 42. “Our crew numbers over 400 and are flying in from over 20 different countries, creating a need for more time to fully analyze and create our new production safety plan,” said host and executive producer Jeff Probst. The show’s current plan is to return to production on May 19, pending any updates. What will happen to the live reunion and finale for the current Winners at War season has yet to be determined.
Coronavirus Effect NCAA
NCAA MARCH MADNESS
March will be a little less mad than usual this year: The NCAA has cancelled the annual, well-watched men’s college basketball tournament in light of the global coronavirus pandemic. (The tournament was originally set to begin March 15 and run through April 6; here is how CBS plans to fill the primetime programming gaps.) The women’s college basketball tournament is cancelled as well, the organization confirmed.
Coronavirus Effect NBA
The NBA has suspended the current 2019-20 season after All-Star player Rudy Gobert preliminarily tested positive for the coronavirus. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the league said in a statement. The regular season was originally slated to conclude April 15, with the playoffs beginning April 18. While early reports claimed the season had been cancelled, at this time it’s merely been postponed.
Coronavirus Effect MLB
Major League Baseball cancelled spring training for the upcoming season, in addition to adding an extended delay for the league’s regular season. Originally set to start March 26, the league previously announced a delay of at least two weeks. Now, the MLB says, the season won’t begin until May, at the earliest. “The Clubs remain committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins,” the league said in a statement.
Coronavirus Effect NHL, MLS
SPORTS, SPORTS AND MORE SPORTS!
The NHL announced it will “pause the 2019‑20 season,” with hopes of resuming as soon as it’s “appropriate and prudent.” On the soccer side of things, the MLS announced a 30-day match suspension effective immediately. The league will provide an update “at the appropriate time.”
For the first time since 1945, the Kentucky Derby has also been postponed. The new date for the race: Sept. 5. “The most recent developments have led us to make some very difficult, but we believe necessary decisions, and our hearts are with those who have been or continue to be affected by this pandemic,” Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen said in a statement. The UFC followed suit and postponed its next three events scheduled through April 11, however, the lightweight bout between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov is (currently) still a go for April 18.
The WWE announced a shake-up to their regularly-scheduled WrestleMania plans. For the first time ever, the event will be held as two-night event, hosted by Super Bowl champ Rob Gronkowski and streamed April 4 and 5 at 7 pm ET on the WWE Network and pay-per-view. “Only essential personnel will be on the closed set at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida,” the association said in a statement.
The news was even less good for the World Figure Skating Championships, which were to be held in Montreal starting March 18 but instead have been cancelled outright. The XFL also cancelled its season. “The COVID-19 pandemic, and the most recent local and state regulations, have left the XFL no choice but to officially cancel the remainder of the 2020 season. This decision has been made with the health and safety of the entire XFL family as our top priority,” the organization wrote.
Tennis fans will be equally disappointed: Wimbledon’s 2020 championship matches are also cancelled. “It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic,” the organization said in a statement April 1. Wimbledon will pick back up in 2021 with the 134th Championships, taking place June 28 to July 11.
Coronavirus Effect Masters Tournament
THE MASTERS TOURNAMENT
The Augusta National Golf Club followed many other sports associations’ lead, announcing a postponement for its Masters Tournament, which was to tee off April 9. The Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals have also been postponed, according to a statement from Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club. Rescheduled dates are TBD.
Coronavirus Effect The Bachelorette
TV’S CHANGE OF (TRAVEL) PLANS
While some productions may be continuing with filming, shooting locations have been scrapped in efforts to avoid the coronavirus pandemic. The Bachelorette said ciao to its plans to shoot in Italy, but is otherwise moving forward Stateside. Plans to produce Season 2 of Rob Lowe’s Mental Samurai game show in Madrid have officially been scrapped.
Not even superheroes can muscle through the coronavirus craze: Disney’s The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has halted production in Prague after the government closed schools and placed restrictions on events and travel.
Coronavirus Effect The Morning Show
PRIMETIME’S PREEMPTIVE PAUSES
The coronavirus has caused some productions to take a precautionary lull, despite suffering no occurences of the virus on set. AppleTV+’s The Morning Show announced a two-week hiatus that was not prompted by any specific concern, while production on Russian Doll, Little America and Rutherford Falls has been cautiously postponed, likely due to the international travel required for the series’ upcoming storylines. (TVLine is keeping a master list of the 70+ shows that have halted production thus far.)
Coronavirus Effect Riverdale
PRIMETIME PAUSES DUE TO ON-SITE CASES
Unfortunately, other shows haven’t been so lucky. A crew member who worked on the upcoming Fox series, neXt, has tested positive for the coronavirus; the production company is currently trying to examine the scope of possible exposure to others. Contact with an infected patient caused The CW’s Riverdale to shut down, while the team member in question is currently receiving medical evaluation, a Warner Bros. TV spokesperson told TVLine.
Coronavirus Effect Live Kelly
DAYTIME TALK SHOWS
For daytime-TV, the show must go on… but sometimes, without a live studio audience. Due to concerns about the coronavirus, Dr. Phil, Live With Kelly and Ryan, The Talk, The Wendy Williams Show and The View have all taped shows sans audience. (Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa even addressed the decision one morning, revealing an audience that consisted of a skeleton crew of producers and other various staffers.) Additionally, as of March 16, The Tamron Hall Show will suspend production.
Coronavirus Effect The Tonight Show
Like their daytime counterparts, many late night TV shows ditched live studio audiences. But following a few audience-free shows, The Tonight Show, Late Night, The Wendy Williams Show and Late Show with Stephen Colbert have opted to go ahead and suspend production. In addition, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Real Time With Bill Maher and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee will all go dark starting March 16. (TBS’ Conan is already on a conveniently timed two-week hiatus.)
Coronavirus Effect Postponed Pilots
FALL TV’S POSTPONED PILOTS
Shows-to-be have also seen shutdowns stemming from the coronapocalypse. Disney, for instance, has stopped production on 16 different pilots including The Brides, Thirtysomething(else), Work Wife, Kids Matter Now, Valley Trash, Harlem’s Kitchen. Ordinary Joe at NBC and The Big Leap at Fox have also suspended production and will be closed down for at least three weeks, according to our sister site, Variety.
Coronavirus Effect Jeopardy
Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune both will tape without a live audience “in the near term.” 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.
Coronavirus Effect One Day at a Time
Sitcoms, as talk shows have done, are showing their studio audiences the door, as is the case with Pop TV’s One Day At A Time (which has been playing to vacated seats since March 10). Tosh.0 and Ridiculousness have also adopted similar policies. It is said that these decisions were all precautionary.
Coronavirus Effect PaleyFest 2019
Organizations that have postponed their events or conventions in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak include the Los Angeles PaleyFest, Emerald City Comic Con, SeriesMania and WonderCon. (No new dates have been announced as of yet.) Unfortunately for Drag Race fans, RuPaul’s DragCon LA is flat out cancelled.
Coronavirus Effect Upfronts
BROADCAST-TV’S FALL TV UPFRONTS
CBS and NBC were the first broadcast-TV networks to officially change up plans for their annual, mid-May upfront presentations to advertisers, after which ABC, The CW and Fox followed suit. Rather than being held live, where stars (and executives) are paraded in front of an audience of hundreds, all five networks will move their portfolio presentations online.
Coronavirus Effect Democratic Debate
The next Democratic debate (being held March 15 in Washington D.C.), will eliminate its live audience. “Out of an abundance of caution and in order to reduce cross-country travel, all parties have decided that the best path forward is to hold Sunday’s debate at CNN’s studio in Washington, D.C., with no live audience,” the DNC said in a statement.
Coronavirus Effect Kids Choice Awards
New York’s GLAAD Media Awards have officially been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns. Originally scheduled for March 19, the event was supposed to honor Judith Light and Ryan Murphy, though GLAAD said their efforts will be celebrated in the future. Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards, meanwhile, will be postponed out of “consideration of the safety and well-being of every person involved with the show, which is our top priority. We will have further information about a new date in the future,” the network said.
The Academy of Country Music Awards also decided to postpone stating, “The health and safety of our artists, fans industry, staff and partners is our number one priority.” The ACM Awards’ new date will be sometime in September.
The Daytime Emmy Awards will shine a lot less brighter this year: the 47th edition of the annual awards show has been officially cancelled. “There are just too many unknowns right now, not the least of which is whether we would actually be permitted to stage an event in June involving more than one thousand live participants,” National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences chairman Terry O’Reilly said in a letter to NATAS members. The Academy is looking into “interesting alternative ideas” for how to best recognize the honorees later this year, and will share more details in the coming weeks. NATAS previously cut two other national events: the 2020 Technology Emmys Awards and the National Sports Emmy Awards.
The 74th annual Tony Awards, which were to be held on Sunday, June 7 at Radio City Music Hall and broadcast as usual by CBS, have been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.
Coronavirus Effect Contests
This year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee has been cancelled, citing CDC recommendations. The spelling bee had been scheduled for the week of May 24 and was supposed to take place at its usual location of Oxon Hill, Md. Scripps said it would try to reschedule the bee, but did not commit to a new date; rescheduling may require adjustments to eligibility rules and qualifying.
The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest has also been cancelled. The event was originally set to take place on May 16 in the Netherlands. This is the first time in 64 years that the contest has been cancelled.