Live television shows stand as a top-form of entertainment for society in this era. Immediately when a person hears live TV, they automatically think of shows such as American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Saturday Night Live. However, the concept of live television encapsulates a whole realm of genres including the previously mentioned singing competition, news, talk shows, and even sports.
With the Coronavirus pandemic altering our lives at the current moment, all of us are forced, celebrities alike, to quarantine and stay at home. This monumental pandemic has not only taken a toll on the wellbeing of people and businesses, but also on the industry of Live Television. Every form of sports, starting with the NBA and continuing to every platform, has brought their season to a standstill; baseball, for example, has even delayed the start of their season for the time being until it can be deemed safe.
However many shows are not letting the pandemic interrupt them from bringing joy and excitement to the people turned couch potatoes. Many forms of programming are experimenting and finding new innovative techniques to reach their audience. American Idol reigns as one of the biggest examples of this, with their newly formatted show returning on Sunday for the first time in two weeks.
For the first time ever in the history of the program, the contestant, musicians, judges, mentors, and hosts will all be residing in their roles while at home. Ironically, host Ryan Secrest will be hosting from the American Idol desk of the original series. While the show will not technically be live, according to Variety, the performances will be live to tape in order for producers to have the ability to edit film and make sure that, if a contestant has a camera-failure, everyone will have equal opportunity.
In addition to the taped performances, the producers have also chosen for the next four episodes to be the final four episodes. This means that instead of the usual one elimination per night, multiple contestants will be eliminated, starting with the 20 contestants on this Sunday’s episode down to 10 total finalists. However, in terms of the final three, while the performances will be pre-recorded, the results will be revealed in a live segment at the end of the show.
Idol is not the only show that is venturing into this virtual scheme. Saturday Night Live, or SNL, has decided to perform sketches from home due to the Coronavirus. Starting off the show with a skewed version of their opening line “Live from Zoom, it’s sometime between March and August.”
SNL attempted to normalize the show as much as possible, providing sketches, a musical act by Chris Martin, and a host. Tom Hanks, who was one of the first celebrities diagnosed with Coronavirus, hosted the Zoom broadcast. To emphasize the normality of the episode, Alec Baldwin starred as President Donald Trump to give an ‘update’ on the pandemic.
While the pandemic has been ravaging and disrupting our daily routines and lives, it becomes important to remember that we have to adapt to find our new, temporary, ‘normal.’ To keep us couch potatoes happy, television and entertainment continue to experiment to find what normal really means.