Live with Kelly and Ryan Scraps Studio Audience Due to Coronavirus: 'Our Show Must Go On'
Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest were all alone on Wednesday, as they kicked off their show sans a sea of viewers in the audience
It’s Live with Kelly and Ryan – and without a studio audience!
On Wednesday, Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest announced their syndicated daytime show would be running without an audience, over ongoing concerns about the coronavirus.
“As you can see, things are a little different here today,’ Seacrest, 45, said. “Given the developing situation in New York with the coronavirus, the decision was made to suspend audiences from our show.”
“That shouldn’t stop everyone from watching at home, because face it, you can’t go anywhere else,” added Ripa, 49. “Our show must go on, so let’s do this thing.”
Though the typical studio audience wasn’t in tow, producers for the show sat in and cheered for the host.
“While we don’t have our regular studio audiences, except for some of our producers who are obviously being punished for something,” Ripa said. “You obviously really screwed up, guys!”
“This is going to be an embarrassing hour,” Seacrest joked. “I feel like we’re auditioning. It feels like we’re doing a pilot. ‘Let’s test Kelly and Ryan and see how they are.’ ”
Live with Kelly and Ryan wasn’t the only daytime show to go on without an audience.
The syndicated Wendy Williams Show, which is also tapes in New York City, cut its audience beginning on Wednesday, too.
“Wendy values her co-hosts and their daily participation but in light of the current health climate, The Wendy Williams Show will not have a live studio audience until further notice,” a spokesperson for the show said in a statement to PEOPLE on Tuesday night.
“We will continue to produce a daily live talk show and look forward to welcoming the studio audience back when the time is right.”
CNN announced Tuesday that it will not include a live audience at the Democratic presidential debate in Phoenix on March 15.
And on Monday, PEOPLE confirmed that both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune will not have in-studio audiences during tapings amid the outbreak.
A source told PEOPLE that the decision was made out of concern for the shows’ senior audiences, who are said to be the most at risk for complications associated with COVID-19.
Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s health was also taken into consideration, as the longtime TV personality currently has a compromised immune system due to his ongoing fight against stage 4 pancreatic cancer, making him more susceptible to the virus.
Music festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach have been postponed due to the outbreak, as has the SXSW festival in Austin.
As of Wednesday morning, there have been at least 1,015 cases of coronavirus in the United States confirmed by lab tests and 31 deaths, according to a New York Times database.