One week after CBS announced that they halted production on their popular reality show The Amazing Race because of the threat of the coronavirus, popular game shows Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune are nixing their live studio audiences as a precautionary measure.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Sony-produced shows are scheduled to film episodes in mid-April at their studios in Culver City, California. But, there will be no audience for the tapings.
— Complex (@Complex) March 10, 2020
The demographics for both game shows indicate the average age of their audience is over 60 years old, which is the age group that has a higher risk of contracting coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the coronavirus exacerbates pre-existing conditions of older adults, as well as those suffering from diabetes and cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.
Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek announced last year that he is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer and he has undergone chemotherapy in recent months. Insiders say that the decision to forgo a live studio audience during taping for Jeopardy! was made with Trebek’s health in mind.
“Older adults [and] people who have serious chronic medical conditions … avoid crowds [and] during a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible,” reads the recommendation from the CDC website.
'Jeopardy!' and 'Wheel of Fortune' will not tape in front of a live audience for the foreseeable future "out of an abundance of caution," source close to the shows says. https://t.co/4oukm82Nhr
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 10, 2020
Another reason for the audience shutdown is because many people receive tickets to the show in prize packages and people fly in from all over the country to attend a taping. California, New York, and Florida have already declared a state of emergency because of the outbreak of coronavirus in those states.
The city of Austin, Texas canceled their South By Southwest festival, and the release date for the new James Bond film No Time To Die has been delayed because of the coronavirus.
There are currently more than 111,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide, with 3,800 deaths. In the United States, there are more than 500 cases as of March 9th. Approximately 140 of those cases are in the New York tri-state area and 16 in Los Angeles County.
The World Health Organization says that people who contract the virus can recover within approximately two weeks if it’s a mild case. However, those who have a severe strain could take up to six weeks to heal.