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‘Wheel of Fortune,’ ‘Jeopardy!’ axe live audiences amid coronavirus fears

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Episodes of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are going to look a lot different as coronavirus fears continue to rise.

Sources close to both shows told the Associated Press on Monday that they’ll be banning live studio audiences to avoid the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, which has infected more than 115,000 people worldwide.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity.

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The shows tape months in advance, so the presumably quieter episodes will not immediately be noticeable to viewers at home, AP reports. Both are filmed at a studio in Culver City, Calif.

The popular game shows are the latest television projects to shift plans due to the new coronavirus. Last week, CBS confirmed to Global News that it was suspending production on The Amazing Race in response to the outbreak.

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“All contestants and production staff are in the process of returning home. At this time, no racers or anyone on the production team travelling with them have contracted the virus, or shown symptoms, and we are not aware of anyone being exposed to it,” CBS said in a statement.

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“Out of an abundance of caution, everyone involved in the show will continue to be monitored when they return home. The health and well-being of the racers and the production team are our top priorities.”

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At the time production was suspended, the participants had only visited England and Scotland, and three episodes had been filmed.

As of this writing, no new start date has been determined. Season 32, the next season to air, has already been shot, but does not have a premiere date.

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For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe symptoms may take three to six weeks to recover.

More than 4,000 people have died from the virus worldwide.

— With files from the Associated Press.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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