“Friday Night SmackDown on March 13 will air live as regularly scheduled and emanate from WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida with only essential personnel in attendance,” WWE said in a statement. “The event was originally scheduled in Detroit, Michigan.”
“We are putting contingency plans in place in the event that upcoming WWE shows are cancelled by government officials, civil authorities and/or local venues,” the statement continued. “We are monitoring the situation closely and as always we will take the necessary precautions to protect the health and wellness of our fans, performers and employees.”
No word yet on whether the episode of “Monday Night Raw” scheduled for March 16 will be moved as well. Likewise for WrestleMania, WWE’s flagship pay-per-view that is due to take place in Tampa, Florida on April 5. In addition to its three weekly TV shows — “SmackDown,” “Raw,” and “NXT” — WWE runs numerous non-televised live events throughout the year known as house shows.
Numerous shows with live audiences have announced in the past few days that they will forego filming with live audiences as the global coronavirus pandemic continues. Late-night shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” have all confirmed they will go without audiences for the foreseeable future.
Major sports leagues have been calling off their seasons as well, with the MLB, NBA, and NHL all stating they will postpone games due to the outbreak. The NCAA just announced that the annual March Madness basketball tournament will not proceed as planned.