American Idol Season 18 Halts Production
American Idol has shut down production due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The Top 20 was in Los Angels for taping for taping that was originally scheduled for next week. TV line reports:
Filming has been halted to ensure that contestants can get home to their families, according to a source; the rest of the production is working remotely, and has been since last week. For now, episodes will continue to air as scheduled through the beginning of the live shows, which were slated to kick off in mid-April, but producers will continue to evaluate things on a week-to-week basis. (Idol currently airs Sundays and Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.)
The live shows are set to kick off on Sunday April 12. However, it appears that American Idol has taped episodes only through to the Hawaii Showcase and Top 20 reveal, scheduled to air on Sunday March 29. According to @IdolSpoilers, American Idol planned to film the semifinals beginning on Friday March 27.
The three episode semi-finals are scheduled to begin airing on Monday March 30.
Enjoy the Three Remaining American Idol Pre-Taped Episodes, Which Run Out on March 29
In short, with American Idol halting production, and sending the Top 20 home, the show will run out of episodes after the Sunday March 29 show. To put it a different way: Enjoy the remaining three episodes, the only episodes American Idol has in the can.
The Voice will surely face the same dilemma. However, the NBC show has all episodes through the Knockouts taped and ready to go. The Voice will be able to stay on the air, probably through through April. NBC announced that The Voice 18 will be live for only three weeks. Doing the math, that would mean a production halt would affect the last three weeks of shows, airing in May.
America’s Got Talent stopped production in the midst of filming auditions. Apparently, production on the round nearly finished. But Judge Cuts still need to be filmed before the show goes live mid-summer.
My prediction is that all three shows will likely be pushed back to the fall, or later. Maybe AGT will air the auditions in the summer, and finish the rest of the season in the fall or winter.
American Idol Could Schedule Clip Shows or Re-Edit Rounds to Cover Extra Episodes
UPDATE: From Deadline:
The decision by American Idol producer Fremantle was made following Los Angeles County’s new strict guidelines prohibiting large gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The suspension of pre-production raises questions about the performance shows, the first of which is currently slated for Monday, March 30. I hear having an audience already had been ruled out, but, in light of the quickly evolving situation around COVID-19, there will likely need to be additional modifications made for those shows to proceed amid a pandemic. It is conceivable that the producers and ABC could use additional existing footage for an extra episode or two to buy themselves some time while they evaluate the situation and make a final decision whether to proceed with live shows and, if they do, in what shape or form.
In other words, schedule a clip show or two to fill the time slot. Or producers could pad shows with extra footage. For instance, the Sunday March 29 episode is a 3 hour Hawaii Showcase/Green Mile Top 20 reveal episode that could conceivably be broken up into a two nighter. ABC could air clip shows the following week. However, anybody following the news understands social distancing policies will likely last longer than a few weeks. I really believe the season is shot for now.