5:40pm PT by Trilby Beresford
'Conan' Plans Audience-Less Return
While the regular programming of late night shows has been interrupted due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Conan O'Brien says he will be resuming his TBS comedy series, Conan, at the end of the month.
New episodes will air beginning March 30 (the same date that all other late night shows are tentatively scheduled to resume), according to the network. They will be filmed without an audience — in compliance with California Gov. Gavin Newsom's directive barring gatherings of more than 250 people — and on an iPhone, with show guests appearing via a video feed. The Conan production staff will work from home.
"Our first priority is the health and well-being of everyone in the Team Coco family, and our second priority is to try and find a way that we can do our jobs safely, from home, and contribute some entertainment for our fans out there who may be hungry for silly distraction," said executive producer Jeff Ross in a statement on Wednesday.
O'Brien added, "The quality of my work will not go down because technically that's not possible."
Since the coronavirus began spreading worldwide, it has infected over 200,000 people and caused more than 8,900 deaths. Both California and New York have declared a state of emergency to deal with the health crisis. Among the California Department of Public Health's recommended policies, gatherings of more than 10 people are discouraged and strict social distancing is recommended.
The entertainment industry has taken a massive hit, with tentpole films delaying their releases and movie theaters shutting down in addition to films pausing their production cycles and television shows seeing changes in their programming habits, such as filming without an audience.