Syndicated Shows Suspend Studio Audiences Due to Coronavirus

Several syndicated shows are taping without live studio audiences in light of coronavirus.

Updated: March 12, 2020, at 11 am PT

Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, which are produced at Sony Pictures Television in Culver City, Calif., and Dr. Phil, which tapes at Stage 29 on the CBS lot in Hollywood, both have said they are suspending studio audiences in light of the outbreak. None of the audience-free shows will air until later this year.

That suspension will affect 12 episodes of Dr. Phil at this point. Dr. Phil executive producer Carla Pennington hopes to resume tapings with studio audiences, which include about 300 people per show, during the week of March 23.

Later in the day on Tuesday, Debmar-Mercury's The Wendy Williams Show also announced it would stop shooting in front of live audiences until further notice. WendyWilliams is produced in New York, which currently has reported 173 cases of coronavirus, among the highest in the country. 

"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. We will continue to produce a daily live talk show and look forward to welcoming the studio audience back when the time is right," said a show spokesperson in a statement. 

On Wednesday, three shows produced by ABC in New York City -- The View, Live with Kelly and Ryan and Tamron Hall -- all suspended taping in front of live audiences.  In addition, ABC has pulled studio audiences from Good Morning America and Strahan, Sara and Keke.

By Thursday, almost all shows with live studio audiences had suspended that practice. Warner Bros.' first-run production arm, Telepictures, on Wednesday night said that talk show Ellen DeGeneres would no longer tape in front of live studio audiences, but that the show would continue to tape episodes.

CBS' The Talk also stopped taping in front of live studio audiences.

Those shows joined the long list of late-night shows in both New York and Los Angeles that are no longer taping in front of live studio audiences.

Related: CBS, NBC, Comedy Central to Suspend Live Audiences at Late-Night Talk Shows 

CBS also announced last week that The Amazing Race, which takes place in countries throughout the world and requires lots of travel, was suspending production. 

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.