In the wake of growing coronavirus concerns, Wendy Williams is following the lead of the NBA and several other Hollywood television shows by completely shutting down the production of her talk show. It will remain that way until further notice.
According to The Blast, a spokesperson for The Wendy Williams show says production has been halted – effective immediately – and only the administration office will remain open so employees can gather their personal belongings before heading home.
“To Our Dedicated Wendy Show Staff: The safety and well-being of our employees is our top priority. Considering the current escalation of the Coronavirus, production will be put on hold, indefinitely,” read the email correspondence that was reportedly sent to staff.
“However, the office will remain open for you to pick up any materials or personal items,” it continued, adding, “In place of live shows, we will air repeats and we will continue to monitor the situation with the CDC and city officials to determine the best time to return and produce live shows again. Thank you for everything you do and please stay safe!”
A stunning visual reminder
Earlier this week, popular daytime talk shows such as The View and The Wendy Williams Show decided to stop filming with live studio audiences after the World Health Organization characterized the outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus as a pandemic.
Television shows across a variety of genres took steps to protect talent and crew exposure. Daytime programs in particular, which rely quite heavily on studio audience engagement, provided the most visually stunning example of these new mandates taking place.
At the time, Deadline reported that other daytime series like Live With Kelly and Ryan and Tamron Hall had opted to tape without in-studio audiences indefinitely. The Los Angeles Times reported Dr. Phil and Rachael Ray had followed suit.
But even when The Wendy Williams Show canceled live audience, they still had extended staff members sit in the seats cheering on the episodes 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.”