6:07pm PT by Lexy Perez
'Jeopardy' and 'Wheel of Fortune' to Film Without Live Audience Amid Coronavirus Fears
Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are taking precautions when it comes to the coronavirus.
Sources familiar with the series confirm that for the time being, both shows will go without a live studio audience as they continue to monitor the situation. Reps for Sony, which produces both, declined to comment. Sources say that Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy are both scheduled to tape to mid-April.
The decision to forgo the live studio audience was done as a precaution amid concerns over Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, given that he is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer and is undergoing treatment and chemotherapy.
The average audience member for both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy is over 60. A study cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes those above age 60 are at a higher risk of getting ill from the virus.
Over the weekend, the CDC updated its guidance on the disease caused by the virus, recommending that "older adults [and] people who have serious chronic medical conditions … avoid crowds [and] during a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible."
Concerns also arose because tickets to both shows are frequently handed out as prize packages for audience members flying in from out of state. Several states, including California and New York, have declared a state of emergency due to the disease.
More than 111,000 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed worldwide, with 3,800 deaths as of Monday. The U.S. had more than 500 cases as of Monday, including about 140 in New York's tri-state area and 16 in Los Angeles County.
Additional events that have been canceled or postponed so far include SXSW and the Game Developers Conference, while the release date for the 25th James Bond film, No Time to Die, has been delayed. SAG-AFTRA has also canceled in-person meetings due to coronavirus concerns.