Just a few days after late-night TV shows suspended live studio audiences and then very shortly after that suspended production entirely, hosts are back on—but online, not on air.
It’s a move much of TV is making, with hosts going live from their kitchens—such as Today’s Al Roker doing the weather from his kitchen or Savannah Guthrie anchoring the show from her basement—and it could be yet another way TV is upended entirely in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
To these shows’ advantage is that they already had vast platforms in place, so in many ways they were fully prepped to quickly make the move online.
For example, the always inventive Stephen Colbert opened his Late Show, renamed The Lather Show, from his bathtub, while wearing his birthday suit—otherwise known as his regular suit, complete with tie.
Jimmy Fallon also went live from his living room with The Tonight Show: At Home Edition, which included high-tech (not) graphics and music and featured his first at-home guest stars, his adorable dog, Gary, and adorable daughter, Franny:
Fallon is featuring a different charity each night to which viewers can donate via links on the show’s YouTube channel.
ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live also went live from Kimmel’s bedroom, with music and opening graphics provided by his kids for his mini-monologue, which he plans to offer daily. Like Fallon, Kimmel also is working to raise money for charity
Kimmel has learned some valuable things in these difficult times, such as that he has children and that you can make coffee for yourself at home.
On day two, Kimmel took his show to the home of his sidekick Guillermo:
Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah launched The Daily Social Distancing Show, apparently from Noah’s couch.
Comedy Central’s Lights Out With David Spade did something similar, with Spade holding forth from him home/Lights Out bunker while doing his #LoFi monologue.
TBS’ Conan, which was on production hiatus when shut-downs due to coronavirus began, said Thursday that the late-night show will return March 30 with new episodes shot remotely on an iPhone with guest interviews filmed via video chat. O’Brien’s production staff will continue to work from home during this time.
“The quality of my work will not go down because technically that’s not possible,” said O’Brien in a statement.
What the move to remote production might augur is more of the same once coronavirus is under control. Producing remotely is potentially more cost-effective and flexible—two things media companies are seeking as business models are squeezed.