The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on the television industry, particularly in the United States, mirroring its impacts across all arts sectors, shutting down or delaying production of television programs in many countries with consequent negative impacts on revenues (through rights and advertising sales) and employment. The coronavirus pandemic has been the most impactful to U.S. television production since the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike, which disrupted nearly all scripted television production).
Among the most noticeable on-camera effects is the more frequent use of remote locations as many on-camera personalities and interviewees broadcast from their homes. Such measures and changes have been done to appeal to social distancing mandates as well as commitments by production companies and broadcast organisations to keep its talents, staff, and audiences safe.
The production of many scripted television series have been affected by the pandemic. On March 10, Fox announced that a production member of the upcoming show NeXt has tested positive for the coronavirus. Production of the series was completed one week before the announcement. Furthermore, the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier suspended its international production in Prague, where a week of filming was set aside. Filming continued in Atlanta until filming statewide was suspended two weeks later.
On March 12, Universal Television delayed shooting for the shows Russian Doll, Rutherford Falls, and Little America. A few hours later, NBCUniversal announced that 35 additional shows would suspend production, including unscripted shows. As such, programs such as the three series of the Chicago franchise as well as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, FBI, New Amsterdam and Superstore had their production suspended; Superstore had to modify its season finale with making its 21st episode in the fifth season the last one produced before the shutdown, short of a 22-episode order. Furthermore, it was revealed that production of Carnival Row had been suspended. Carnival Row was filming in Prague, Czech Republic at time of the production shutdown. The same day, Netflix announced that production on the final season of Grace and Frankie would be suspended as a number of the actors are at high risk for the virus due to their age.
Television had suspended production on multiple series including Young Sheldon, All Rise, Bob Hearts Abishola, God Friended Me (which had its last completed episode retooled as a series finale, incorporating an earlier filmed ending, after CBS announced its cancellation in April), Supergirl and Batwoman. The same day, Warner Bros. also suspended production on several other series including Euphoria and Snowpiercer. As well as other Warner Bros. produced television shows being filmed in Vancouver, Canada: Riverdale, The Flash, Batwoman, and Supernatural. Lastly, Netflix announced that production on all its films and series in the United States and Canada would be suspended. Production in other countries would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The big three networks’ soap operas have also suspended production; ABC’s General Hospital had two months of new episodes remaining, and CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless had around 4–6 weeks of episodes remaining. By contrast, NBC’s Days of Our Lives has a much larger backlog, as its episodes are produced roughly eight months in advance of their broadcast (though with two weeks less of episodes than usual due to a pre-planned Summer Olympic break that NBC will be left to fill due to the postponement of the games).
All Rise produced a new season finale episode, “Dancing in Los Angeles”, from its actors’ homes using videoconferencing, depicting the in-universe version of the Los Angeles Superior Court conducting its first virtual bench trial due to the pandemic. NBC announced that the season 7 finale of The Blacklist would utilize animated sequences inspired by graphic novels in order to complete the partially-filmed episode.
A number of shows – including the late-night shows which had before planned to tape without an audience – announced they would suspend production. Both The Late Show and The Tonight Show already had hiatuses scheduled in late-March..