As Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest introduced their weekday ABC morning show “Live With Kelly and Ryan” Wednesday, there was the usual audience cheer. But the duo was quick to admit that all was not as it seemed.
The camera then panned to the audience seating area to reveal that the noise was in fact coming from a handful of the hit show’s producers, who were cheering at the top of their voices to make it sound like there was a full crowd in attendance.
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The missing live audience, it turned out, was in line with The Walt Disney Company-owned ABC’s new policy, starting Wednesday, that its New York-based morning shows will no longer have live audiences for the foreseeable future as companies move to take precautions against a backdrop of an increasing number of coronavirus cases in New York. The number of cases has now surpassed 200.
“That shouldn’t stop everyone from watching from home because, let’s face it, you can’t go anywhere else,” joked Ripa from behind her desk. “Our show must go on so let’s do this thing.”
It was a similar story at “Good Morning America,” which has the slot before “Live With Kelly and Ryan.” Cohosts Michael Strahan and Lara Spencer did their best to get the energy up in the studio during their interview with rapper Lil Dicky.
But the atmosphere appeared eerie without the usual audience’s screams and claps, which seem to come each time a host pauses for breath. Adding to the awkwardness, Strahan and Spencer presented the rapper, whose real name is David Burd, with a cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, only for him to admit that he wasn’t partial to the dessert.
“The View,” “Strahan, Sara and Keke” and “Tamron Hall” will also be taping without a live audience.
“Given the current developing situation in New York City, we have made the decision to suspend live audiences from attending our news broadcasts and talk shows,” a Walt Disney Television spokesperson said.
And from March 12, NBC will follow suit, just announcing that it will suspend live audiences for “Today” and “Today With Hoda & Jenna & Friends.”
“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority. As a precautionary measure, starting tomorrow, Thursday, March 12, we have decided to suspend live audiences for ‘Today’ and ‘Today With Hoda & Jenna & Friends,'” a spokeswoman said. “Per guidance from New York City officials, the company is hoping to do its part to help to decrease the rate of transmission in our communities. Our shows will continue filming on their regular schedule, and currently, there will be no impact on air dates.”
Elsewhere, “The Wendy Williams Show,” a syndicated production, also taped without an audience, as will “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.”
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