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In a time when other productions are halting productions, Conan O'Brien and his team are finding new ways to bring laughter to a nation in crisis.
The coronavirus has not been kind to the entertainment industry. This is even more true for talk-shows, as many are filmed in large studios in sprawling metropolis locations. They have large crews and larger studio audiences. These things have made them not only impractical during the coronavirus pandemic, but significantly unsafe.
Some shows have taken this time to halt production entirely. Others, like The View, have chosen to continue, shooting in-studio without the studio audience.
"Conan" was supposed to be on hiatus this week as the studio figured out what to do, but the team had other ideas. Conan O'Brien and crew have decided to try something different— working from home.
Conan says he'll shoot on an iPhone and that his guests will Skype in. His crew will work safely from their homes.
I am going back on the air Monday, March 30th. All my staff will work from home, I will shoot at home using an iPhone, and my guests will Skype. This will not be pretty, but feel free to laugh at our attempt. Stay safe.— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) March 19, 2020
O'Brien "likes to work. He likes to make stuff - as we all do. We are in the business of making content and this what we do. The idea that we can't do it is a little frustrating," says Jeff Ross, the late-night host's longtime executive producer, according to Variety. "We have a staff that wants to work, that doesn't want to not get paid, and you just want to keep the business going."
"The quality of my work will not go down because technically that's not possible," joked O'Brien in a statement.
It's likely that over the next few months, shows will need to experiment with their formats or risk financial burden. Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon are also set to begin filming new material, which they'll mix in with existing material to fill current time slot obligations.