TV

What does the coronavirus mean for your favourite TV shows?

Barely any industry is immune from COVID-19, so what’s going to happen on the silver screen?

By Alex Lilly
The coronavirus has dominated headlines and turned the world upside down.
Schools are shutting, employees are being made to work from home and people are panic-buying toilet paper and pasta like there's no tomorrow.
Many of us are expecting to cosy up in front of the TV to watch our favourite shows in self-isolation, though it may not be that simple. In fact, some ratings giants have ditched the live studio audiences and others even put filming on hold in these unprecedented times. Here we shine a light on those shows and what's to come.
The Project team are taking precautions! (Image: Instagram @theprojecttv)

Live studio audiences turned away

With many reality shows, filming is already underway but production are putting their audiences' safety as a top priority.
The day before it was due to air, Dancing With The Stars announced that there would be no live audience for the live Sunday show and while this is a DWTS first, hosts Amanda Keller and Grant Denyer assured viewers that they, the dancers, judges and crew would all be carrying on as normal.
WATCH BELOW: Dancing With The Stars 2020 promo. Post continues after video...
"It's extraordinary but these are extraordinary times so get behind your celebs, vote for them, watch tomorrow night, these are amazing times, let's all be in this together," Amanda said on the show's official Instagram page.
"The show will go on!" an ever-enthusiastic Grant added.
Network Ten also confirmed that The Project and Studio 10, which are also filmed in front of a live studio audience, will be filmed behind closed doors, as well as the highly-anticipated Australian Survivor reunion special.
"These are unprecedented times for the broadcast industry," a network spokesman said on Sunday, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. "We are regularly reviewing our practices with the health, safety and well-being of our staff, crew and talent top of mind."
Other shows like Australian Ninja Warrior are only allowing family members to attend the live shows with a Nine Network spokesperson saying that would mean a crowd of "tens rather than hundreds" as the series comes to its end.
Grant and Amanda informed Dancing With The Stars fans that the show was continuing despite no studio audience. (Image: Instagram @dancingon10)

Scaling back on production

Some shows like The Amazing Race take contestants all over the globe to countries including Italy, which is currently in lockdown.
However in this new climate where international travel has been restricted for the timebeing, contestants were set to travel to domestic destinations around Australia rather than jetting around the globe.
"This is an ongoing situation that we are continuing to monitor closely with all of our production partners, across all of our shows," the Network Ten spokesperson explained.
Many countries, including Australia, are currently imposing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation rule for anyone arriving to a new country from overseas. However some states including Tasmania have shut off their borders and won't permit Australians from other states and territories to enter.
The Amazing Race took contestants to all corners of the globe last season, but this year things could be a little more domestic. (Image: Network Ten)
The travel restrictions have even impacted shows we didn't think of!
For Sunday March 22's episode of The Project, only comedian Tommy Little was at the desk at the Melbourne studios whilst fellow panelists Lisa Wilkinson, Susie Youssef and Peter van Onselen filmed from Sydney as they usually fly interstate to film the current affairs show.
The show shared a behind-the-scenes picture of the four hosts captioning it, "We've got PVO, @Lisa_Wilkinson and @susie_youssef in Sydney, and in keeping with travel restrictions, the non-essential one in Melbourne 😂 Jokes aside, it's a big day, a big show, and we're bringing you the latest in these unprecedented times."
Travel restrictions have forced The Project to get creative. (Image: Instagram @theprojecttv)

Put on hold

Meanwhile several shows have pulled the plug on filming - at least for now.
In a statement from a Nine spokesperson, Now To Love was informed: "filming of The Voice has been temporarily postponed in the wake of the coronavirus and new government protocols."
"The show is still currently on track to begin airing in its originally planned time frame, which will be announced in the coming months."
Judging by previous years, the show will be on-screens around late April, early May.
Filming of The Voice has been "temporarily postponed" according to a Nine spokesperson. (Image: Nine Network)
Long-running soap Neighbours has also temporarily halted filming as a preventative measure after a coronavirus scare.
"Even out here in the iconic lot, we are now feeling the coronavirus pinch as our studio goes into lockdown." actress Madeleine West told 9Honey.
10 daily reported the decision came after cast and crew held a meeting to discuss the worldwide pandemic.
"Neighbours has decided to take a short break this week to ensure the production model in place can withstand any potential impact of the current COVID-19 situation," it was announced in a statement from Network Ten and Fremantle Media.
"The health and well-being of everyone on the set of Neighbours will always be our priority."
Neighbours has temporarily shut down production. Image: Network Ten
Home and Away has also halted production, with the news being confirmed by a Seven spokesperson.
They added that no cast or crew had tested positive to COVID-19, however the decision was made as "logistical hurdles" increased.
Cast and crew members were revealed to be socially isolating themselves with the cast sharing snaps of themselves rehearsing lines together via Skype but as of now, we're not sure when the Summer Bay residents will be back on television.
The Home and Away Skype rehearsals were fun while they lasted. (Image: Instagram @penny.mcnamee)
Now, the upcoming season of Australian Survivor has also been put on hold.
The program was meant to start filming in Fiji in April, a spokesperson from Ten has confirmed that production has been postponed.
"Following the Australian Government's latest advice on overseas travel, plus discussions with the Fijian Government, production of the new season of Australian Survivor has been postponed," they said in a statement.
"While this news is disappointing, the health and safety of everyone involved with the show is our number one priority. We will update everyone on when production will start as soon as we can."
Survivors not ready: Filming of the upcoming second season of Survivor for 2020 has been postponed. (Image: Network Ten)

Dating shows beware

Government protocols are telling Aussies to wash their hands regularly and avoid human contact including handshaking, hugging and kissing.
And with one of the nation's favourite dating shows currently filming, fans are wondering if The Bachelor will still go ahead, what with all the kissing and heavy petting that goes on.
No self-isolating in the mansion: Locky's going to be getting very up close and personal with the contestants. (Image: Network Ten)
Former contestant Nikki Ferris, who appeared on Matt Agnew's season told the Daily Mail that the contestants "live in each other's pockets" and said that the 28 hopefuls at the beginning of the season shared four bedrooms and four bathrooms, all while sleeping in bunk beds.
"It's like a hostel. If there was a group date, one person would be on the toilet, another in the shower and another doing makeup all in the same bathroom. We had a cleaner come just once a week," she revealed.

Even the Big Brother house isn't safe

You'd think the Big Brother house is the perfect quarantine! (Image: Channel Seven)
When you think about it, the Big Brother contestants are in some of the country's safest conditions seeing as they're filming in a intent-establish compound in Sydney, away from the outside world and well stocked with food and essentials.
Contestants usually aren't told about major news events until after they've been eliminated, but the housemates were informed of the current pandemic and production were in constant contact with the families to keep all involved up to date.
However Endemol Shine has confirmed that filming has been put on hold after a crew member tested positive for the coronavirus.
"The crew member is currently feeling well and showing no symptoms of the virus, however is being tested and now self-isolating. As a precaution the site is currently in lock down pending testing and further advice," they stated.
"We continue to work within all Federal and State guidelines and will always make the health, safety and well-being of our cast and crew our number one priority," they added.