Popular daytime talk shows The View and The Wendy Williams Show have both decided to stop filming with live studio audiences due to growing concerns about the coronavirus.
According to Vulture, Wednesday’s episode of The View started off as usual with upbeat theme music blaring as head host Whoopi Goldberg warmly greeted, “Hello, hello, hello! Welcome to The View!”
But moments later, viewers at home were stunned when the camera panned across rows and rows of empty chairs. It revealed an empty audience.
The coronavirus situation is still developing and for the first time ever at @TheView, we made the decision not to have a studio audience. We look forward to our fans returning to join us in the studio in the future! pic.twitter.com/BNXK098W0s
— The View (@TheView) March 11, 2020
That same day, the World Health Organization characterized the outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus as a pandemic prompting television shows across a variety of genres to take steps to protect talent and crew exposure.
Daytime talk shows, in particular, rely quite heavily on studio audience engagement. They have been the most visually stunning example of these new mandates taking place.
Deadline reports that other daytime series like Live With Kelly and Ryan and Tamron Hall will tape without in-studio audiences indefinitely. The Los Angeles Times also reports Dr. Phil and Rachael Ray have followed suit.
The Wendy Williams Show canceled live audience tapings amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. It chose to have extended staff sit in the seats cheering on the show rather than perform for empty chairs.
“Wendy values her co-hosts and their daily participation but in light of the current health climate, The Wendy Williams Show will not have a live studio audience until further notice,” a spokesperson for the show said in a statement. “We will continue to produce a daily live talk show and look forward to welcoming the studio audience back when the time is right.”
Sony Pictures Television has also chosen to forego audiences for evening game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.
AUDIENCE LESS??? Wendy Williams show goes live without an audience. Staffers replaced Wendy’s cohosts- Corona Virus 🦠 Hysteria –#socialnetworktrends #Corona #CoronaVirusUpdate #coronavirus #WendyWilliams #coronavirusny pic.twitter.com/SmlmKs2xyO
— Ok Boomer Blog (@DiscoverBlogNY) March 11, 2020