“Jeopardy! and “Wheel of Fortune” are doing away with studio audiences for the time being, and on Wednesday “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” announced it would be following suit.
Multiple reports confirm the two long-running shows are moving forward with production but without a live crowd in attendance due to coronavirus concerns. The “no studio audience” rule was put in place Tuesday, according to TMZ, and will run for the foreseeable future.
There were reportedly three reasons for the decision: “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, the average age of audiences, and out-of-town visitors.
Trebek is currently battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer and may be immunocompromised due to chemotherapy and other treatments. As such, it is reportedly too risky to expose him to large groups of people.
Secondly, a lot of “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune” audience members are in their 60s, as such, they may have a harder time fending off the virus. Finally, a significant number of audience members often arrive from out of town, increasing the potential to carry the virus.
On Wednesday evening, Elle DeGeneres tweeted that for the time being, “I’ll be shooting my show with no studio audience,” a measure being taken “for the health of my fans, my staff & my crew,” jokingly adding that it “has nothing to do with a warrant for my arrest in the state of Florida.”
“Jeopardy!” has been running since 1964. “Wheel of Fortune” has been spinning since 1975.