‘Wheel of Fortune,’ ‘Jeopardy!’ will tape without studio audiences due to coronavirus concerns
Both shows tape on different stages at the Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California.
Variety’s source tells the publication that one reason behind the cancellation is “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek’s health — he’s currently undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer which could potentially have weakened his immune system.
Meanwhile, both Trebek, 79, and “Wheel” host Pat Sajak, 73, are also around the age that many medical experts believe are at higher risks from the effects of COVID-19 (“Jeopardy” announcer Johnny Gilbert, who typically sits near the studio audience, is 95).
The source also notes that studio audiences for both shows tend to skew older.
Both shows typically take weeks in advance, so the shows without studio audiences likely won’t air until closer to the end of the season.
“Jeopardy!” tapes in order, while “Wheel of Fortune” often tapes out of sequential order.
It’s not clear if the shows will add a clap track to the audio though, “Wheel of Fortune,” in particular, relies on the sound of clapping when the trademark wheel spins as almost an extension of gameplay.
Both shows also typically show the studio audience on camera when going to and from breaks, and “Wheel” often shows the bonus round participant’s family in the audience.
It’s not immediately clear if the contestants’ family or friends will still be permitted in the studio for either show or how “Wheel” will handle the quick shot of them before the bonus round.