One day after TV’s New York-based late-night programs announced they would ditch the live audiences for their broadcasts out of concerns related to the spread of coronavirus. ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” CBS’ “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and Comedy Central’s “Lights Out with David Spade” are affected. The new policy will start with next Monday’s broadcasts. TBS’ “Conan,” also based on the west coast, is slated to be on hiatus over the next two weeks.
Similar decisions were already made by CBS’ “Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” NBC’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” TBS’ “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” and Fox News Channel’s “The Greg Gutfeld Show.”
The decisions mean that a staple of late-night TV – seeing a host react and respond to the energy of a live in-studio crowd – will be missing for the foreseeable future.
On Wednesday night, Samantha Bee held forth without a full audience on TBS’ “Full Frontal,” the first of the programs to broadcast without a studio crowd. With only a handful of her own staff in the crowd, she seemed looser, laughing at different points in the show’s various segments – almost as if she was just trying out jokes on her friends. It made for a more relaxed presentation, one in which the show may not be everything, but at least it could go on.
“Saturday Night Live,” which depends on the reactions of its audience to help guide the program, is on hiatus until March 28. No decision about having a live studio audience has been announced.