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CBS, NBC, Comedy Central to Suspend Live Audiences for Late Night Talk Shows

Add CBS, NBC and Comedy Central late night talk shows to the growing list of live programming that will air without live studio audiences, as fears of coronavirus tightened its grip on television production in New York.

CBS said it will suspend live audiences for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert beginning on March 16.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About COVID-19

“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,” CBS said in a statement. “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.”

At the same time, NBC said it too would suspend live audiences for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with Seth Meyers on March 16. Both shows are filmed in New York.

“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,” NBC said in a statement. “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.”

Cable channel Comedy Central said it would also produce The Daily Show with Trevor Noah without a live audience, beginning on March 16.

“Our top priority is the safety of our guests and staff,” Comedy Central said in a statement. “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.”

WarnerMedia said it also would suspend live audiences for its Home Box Office series, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, beginning on March 15. 

Earlier, Walt Disney Television said it was suspending live audiences for its New York based talk shows, including Good Morning America, and The View. Several syndicated shows including Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune and Dr. Phil also said they would do the same. 

There have been about 212 cases of COVID-19 reported in New York state, mainly in the Westchester County area. In New York City, about 48 people have tested positive for COVID-19.