Ryan Seacrest is back to work at the New York City studio where he and Kelly Ripa film their morning show, Live with Kelly and Ryan. This, after a spring and summer consisting of the two co-hosting the show from remote locations. But Ryan’s morning talk show isn’t the only television program heading back to the studio.
The long time American Idol host tells The Hollywood Reporter that he expects that the veteran competition reality show, now airing on ABC, will also head back to the studio for the Hollywood and live rounds.
Currently Ryan and Idol judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan are taping the judges auditions in various California cities, including San Diego. Mentor Bobby Bones will join the production after he finishes shooting Breaking Bobby Bones for Nat Geo:
I am traveling — I’ll travel [Wednesday] afternoon after we finish two shows here in New York. Auditions will start in the afternoon in San Diego and I’ll go right into taping through Saturday, then return to New York on Sunday for Live. It’s a truncated audition city schedule this season. There are fewer locations we’re going to, but we’re getting to see probably a wider and greater scope of talent, because the auditions were initially held virtually where every state could participate.
The production again is going through [testing and safety] protocols, but it looks a lot more normal. The judges are spread apart, the contestants are spread apart, and I talk to them outside the door. But it looks like American Idol.
Last spring, American Idol finished season 18 100% remotely. Cast and crew all did their jobs through Zoom. Contestants filmed performances in remote locations–mostly their homes. But now, Idol is returning to its familiar format:
As far as I know today, the way it stands is we’ll back in a studio with safety protocols, on a set that’s a big scale set, most likely without an audience. Hopefully we can stay in a world and a place where we can execute that plan. I think the audience wants to see it look like a big show.
ABC is shooting Idol auditions with COVID-19 protocols firmly in place. For instance, the judges sit behind separate desks, 6+ feet apart. And as already mentioned, instead of fanning out across the country to conduct the judges auditions, hopefuls will be brought to California to sing in front of the judges.
Not many photos are coming out from audition locations. But here are Luke and Lionel outside of Idol’s San Diego location. Not sure about that big sign behind them. In the meantime, fans can vote for American Idol for best competition reality show for the upcoming People’s Choice Awards. American Idol season 19 will air mid-season on ABC.
A message from the #AmericanIdol set! ?? Vote every day, but ESPECIALLY today at https://t.co/QTExXk3CoM for us to win #TheCompetitionShow at this year's #PCAs! @LukeBryanOnline @LionelRichie pic.twitter.com/h1ckIBokSx
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) October 15, 2020