Conan O’Brien is pushing on and filming episodes of his talk show on an iPhone during the coronavirus pandemic. The star and his producer told Variety about their plans for the show during their quarantine period. TBS has to be thrilled that their longest-tenured host is game to engage the audience at a difficult time. O’Brien is always down for a good time, but he’s still trying to be a bit cautious as most of the country has taken to social distancing to limit the spread of the virus.
Jeff Ross, his producer told the publication, “[he] likes to work. He likes to make stuff – as we all do. We are in the business of making content and this what we do. The idea that we can’t do it is a little frustrating. We have a staff that wants to work, that doesn’t want to not get paid, and you just want to keep the business going.”
“We were making stuff and putting it out and trying to be a distraction, but we just realized – why not just do the show?” added Ross. “It will be different ,and it may not be pretty, but we’re going to do it.”
The Tonight Show, The Late Show and some other late-night staples are banning audiences as well. CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC and others opted for caution amid the worldwide concern around the virus. Shows like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Late Night with Seth Myers are already operating without audiences too. Most of those shows are filmed in the New York area. But things have become more pressing in all corners of entertainment.
NBC released a statement that said, “The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority.” The company will be taking “precautionary measures” with The Tonight Show, Late Night and nixed live audiences. Saturday Night Live is in the middle of a scheduled hiatus until late this month.
Stephen Colbert’s program is the highest-rated show in late-night and their statement reads, “specific developments at The Ed Sullivan Theater to cause concern for audiences with plans to attend the show tonight, tomorrow, or who have attended in recent weeks.”
Disney’s former CEO Bob Iger offered his take on the virus’ spread a few weeks ago. “All of the movie companies that are expecting to distribute movies coming up in China, obviously are impacted by this,” he said to CNBC. “Again, it is hard to tell. We have a release coming out in March, Mulan, which obviously would have been of great interest to China. It will eventually get into China, at this point, we’re not sure when. Obviously, the big issue on everybody’s mind and everyone’s concern is what’s going on with this virus. And how far will it go in terms of its impact on people.”
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