Television goes blank: no date for the return of your favourite series

The Hollywood industry begins to show the immediate effects of the emergency caused by the declared quarantine in anticipation of the spread of the coronavirus. From a new calendar for major seasonal premieres to the indefinite suspension of filming, everything seems to indicate that the film industry is shaken from its foundations by the consequences of the pandemic. The same thing happens in the world of television and right now, several channels must face the fact that their famous series will not return for their corresponding season. Fall may come with reps and the likelihood of a long hiatus in your favorite stories.

There is still nothing definitive, but everything seems to indicate that the premieres of the next seasons of several of the most important series on television channels will have to wait amid the coronavirus health emergency.

The measure – which for now encompasses several of the most popular small-screen shows – could well extend to the entire grid of several of the US channels. The double pressure of quarantine – which makes long filming impossible – and the inability to predict what will happen amid the short-term health emergency, seems to have pushed many of the chains to make decisions on the fly, to analyze the possible impact of a year in which your main projects must be absent from the usual schedule.

According to several experts in the television industry, for now, it seems almost certain that the main channels and, above all, the largest projects of the American television offer, will have to have their productions for an indefinite time. For now, one of the emblematic cases was the series of The Walking Dead, whose current season ran out of a final chapter, after filming stopped immediately with quarantine declared in several states in North America. Many others will end with three or four fewer chapters than those that usually include their usual seasons. The vast majority do not have an exact date for their return to the film sets or at least to the first pre-production movements. Of course, this is a situation, which shows that the emergence of the coronavirus exceeds the initial expectations of all television channels and other transmission platforms about its possible consequences.

Blank calendar

In late March, studios and television channels announced that they were closing productions of their main shows to safeguard the health of the cast and crew. Most spoke of temporary breaks and others, directly hinted that the recordings would not resume until the quarantine is lifted, which means that the vast majority of the series went through an inevitable break indefinitely. It seems obvious that while there is a possibility that some networks will start regulated filming in early April and may complete one or two episodes in time for this broadcast season, it will not be practical in most cases.

This is due to the costs associated with the suspension of recordings, not to mention the effects of the quarantine and the subsequent agendas of the actors. If there is a probability that the production teams could return to the set during April, most likely, a good part of the members or members of the creative teams are not willing to carry out their work without the minimum conditions that ensure your health. And while the curve of those infected in the United States increases dramatically, as well as the worrying death toll, it is more than noticeable that the bulk of the productions will have to wait for a more favorable moment to return to their daily rhythm.
At the moment, the solution seems to reside in a change of schedule that allows extending the transmission of the series until mid-May, when the vast majority of the seasons officially end. However, the future does not seem promising for the recording of new chapters that should formally begin to take place in early June or in the first weeks of July.

For now, the channels are using a strategy that consists of releasing in a spaced way the latest recorded chapters of their main series taking into account that due to the quarantine, the majority of the public will welcome the conclusions of their favorite stories. “A lot of people are going to be sitting watching television,” said an executive who asked Vulture not to be identified. The administrative decision would immediately result in further repetitions around the first weeks of May. NBC, for example, has already announced plans for an NBC News special to air on March 19 at 10 p.m.

The interruption of production will affect the shows in a completely different way, depending on their recording schedule or where they were before the interruption of their filming. Some shows like Modern Family and Carol’s Second Act ended their recording schedule weeks ago, so their broadcast will take place according to plan. Still, not all series have been so fortunate: some of the procedural Welsh act (such as showrunner Dick Wolf Chicago PD series) will be affected by the possibility that its latest chapters cannot be recorded and that the season finale should be carried out in a hurry and above all, with the resources of early filming. On the other hand, highly successful programs like Grey’s Anatomy will have to deal with the possibility of incomplete seasons or the fact that special chapters must be made – once the emergency is half-resolved – that can complete the history of their most recent episodes.

For the channels, the headaches hardly seem to begin to arrive: from the immediate cancellation of reality shows, contests and many others that need live audiences, to the fact that the great nightly talk shows will have to deal in one way or another with a possible indefinite suspension of his recordings, everything seems to indicate that the return of the great series was delayed much more than could be predicted right now. If the contagion curve in the United States has not decreased by the end of July or the beginning of August and the strict conditions for quarantine due to the pandemic have not changed, chances are that the best-known television shows will not return until the end of the year.



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