TV Shows Still Making New Episodes During The Pandemic

By Heather Wilson on May 18 2020 in Entertainment

Ellen is hosting her talk show from home. Image credit: YouTube
Ellen is hosting her talk show from home. Image credit: YouTube
  • Talk-shows have adapted to a remote production, with hosts filming from their homes.
  • CBS's All Rise and NBC's The Blacklist finished filming their series using Zoom video conferencing and animation.
  • Unscripted shows are being shot from home, using iPhones and Ipads.

Covid-19 forced the production of most TV shows to come to an abrupt halt in March, but as the pandemic has resulted in strict lockdowns around the world, making traditional TV production impossible, some have embraced the mantra that “the show must go on.” 

Talk Shows

Conan is still interviewing celebrities from his home during the pandemic. Image credit:

Among the quickest to adapt were daytime and late-night talk shows, many of which announced plans to carry on studio productions with no audience in the first couple weeks of March, but soon began switching over to entirely remote productions. Hosts have filmed their shows from their homes, garages, cars, and other remote locations, delivering monologues to an empty room (or watching family members) and interviewing celebrities over video calls. Shows that have gone ahead in this remote format include: Conan, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Real Time with Bill Maher, Desus & Mero, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The View, The Wendy Williams Show, Live with Kelly and Ryan, Rachael Ray, Tamron Hall, Live with Kelly and Ryan, and Dr.Phil. Saturday Night Live aired three “at home” episodes to end the current season. A number of these shows have been streaming their shows on YouTube.

Scripted TV

While most scripted shows were unable to carry on production under the conditions of COVID-19, a couple found creative solutions. The CBS series All Rise produced its season finale virtually, featuring scenes of the characters filmed in the casts’ homes using Zoom video conferencing. NBC’s The Blacklist turned to animation in order to wrap up its season finale, which had been halfway through filming.

Unscripted TV

American Idol has held live shows remotely during the pandemic. Image credit:

Some unscripted shows were also quick to adapt. American Idol temporarily suspending productions before announcing that live shows would carry on remotely, with contestants delivering performances from their homes. The Voice likewise has planned remote live shows, but it has planned a studio component, with a minimal crew and no live audience. Keeping Up With The Kardashians continued production on its season finale with Kim, Kylie, Khloe, Kendall, and Kourtney filming from their homes on iPhones and iPads. In April, Fox announced a new remote reality series Celebrity Watch Party, featuring celebrities in their homes reacting to shows and the news, with the first episode to air on May 7. The Food Network also launched a new remote show, Amy Schumer Learns to Cook, shot entirely by Amy Schumer and her husband Chris Fischer in their home.

Keeping Kids Entertained

Fraggle Rock: Rock On! is shot entirely in isolation using iPhones. Image credit:

Some children’s shows have gotten creative to help keep kids entertained and give parents a break while we are all stuck on lockdown. Nickelodeon has announced two new series for the summer, virtually produced, Group Chat: The Show and Game Face. Sesame Street has also jumped on board with its half-hour special Sesame Street: Elmo’s Playdate. Apple TV+ has followed suit with short episodes of Fraggle Rock: Rock On! shot in the production team’s homes on iPhones.

YouTube Productions

YouTube has been redefining the world of entertainment for years, and many have turned to its platform as a way to quickly and easily get content out to viewers during the COVID-19 lockdown. While these are not “traditional” TV shows, YouTube and some of its creators are pumping out a number of their own original series while in quarantine. Among those are, The Creator Games Presented by MrBeast, Locked Down, Stay Home With: Yungblud, #MoveWithMe, Stream #WithMe, Celebrity Substitute, Create Together #WithMe with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, BookTube Money Talks: Taxes, The Secret Life of Lele Pons, and an untitled Juanpa and Luisito project.

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