Coronavirus prompts ‘Late Show,’ ‘Tonight Show’ to drop studio audiences

The ripple effect of the new coronavirus has moved beyond the film and music industry and is being felt in North America’s daytime and late-night TV talk show circuit.

On Wednesday, New York City-based late-night shows The Tonight ShowThe Late Show and Late Night with Seth Myers all announced that they will begin taping episodes without an in-studio audience amid concerns surrounding the global pandemic.

NBC said it was suspending live audiences for the Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers-hosted shows starting March 16, with CBS saying the same of Stephen Colbert‘s show due to the rapid spread of COVID-19.

In a statement provided to the Associated Press (AP), NBC said the safety of guests and employees was the company’s “top priority.”

Trevor Noah, John Oliver, Andy Cohen, Wendy Williams and award-winning comedian Ellen DeGeneres will also go without audiences on their respective talk shows.

Along with Colbert, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, HBO’s Last Week Tonight and Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen are set to follow suit, starting this Sunday.

“For the past several weeks, producers have consulted daily to share information with other New York-based late night shows, who will also be moving forward without an audience,” CBS said in regard to the decision on The Late Show.

The step was taken based on guidance from New York City officials, CBS said, and out of an “abundance of caution regarding” the virus and the uncertainty of the situation.

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