No word from Jimmy Kimmel or James Corden yet, but their late night rivals in New York are banning live audiences from tapings beginning next week.
Jimmy Fallon (NBC), Stephen Colbert (CBS) and Seth Meyers (NBC) are all undertaking the extraordinary measure along with their cable counterparts Trevor Noah (Comedy Central), Samantha Bee (TBS), John Oliver (HBO) and Andy Cohen (Bravo). The late night hosts will all continue to tape new episodes next week, but don’t count on any audience interaction, as they’ll be playing to a room full of empty seats.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee has already implemented the ban for Wednesday’s show, though other hosts aren’t starting the initiative until March 16. CBS is still inviting audiences to Corden tapings, though the network is said to be keeping a close eye on the situation as it develops.
Read the official network statements below:
NBC: “The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. As a precautionary measure, starting Monday, March 16, we have decided to suspend live audiences for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night With Seth Meyers. Per guidance from New York City officials, the company is hoping to do its part to help to decrease the rate of transmission in our communities. Our shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates.”
CBS: “Beginning Monday, March 16, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert will film without a live, in-studio audience. This move is being made out of an abundance of caution regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the uncertainty of the situation for future weeks. Per guidance from New York City officials, CBS and The Late Show are doing their part to help decrease the potential rate of transmission in our communities. There have not been any specific developments at The Ed Sullivan Theater to cause concern for audiences with plans to attend the show tonight, tomorrow, or who have attended in recent weeks. For several weeks, the team at the theater has been taking all necessary precautions to protect everyone who enters and works in the theater with enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures. For the past several weeks, The Late Show producers have consulted daily to share information with other New York-based late night shows, who will also be moving forward without an audience.”
Comedy Central: “Our top priority is the safety of our guests and staff. Beginning Monday, March 16th, Comedy Central’s NY based late night series, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, will film without a live, in-studio audience. This move is being made out of an abundance of caution and concern regarding the spread of the COVID-19 virus and per guidance from New York City officials to take appropriate actions. There have been no developments at The Daily Show’s studio to cause concern for audience members who have plans to attend the show tonight or tomorrow. Measures have been taken to protect everyone who enters and works in the office and studio with enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures.”
HBO: “We are taking this precaution in accordance with best practices as outlined by New York City officials. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
The late night hosts are following the example set by America’s top morning news programs such as Today, Good Morning America, The View, Dr. Phil and Live With Kelly and Ryan. As of March 11, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, and more than 1,000 people in the United States have contracted the disease, resulting in 31 deaths thus far. The Coronavirus outbreak has forced numerous cancellations, including this year’s E3 confab.