From 'Bachelorette' to 'S.W.A.T.,' 13 Shows Shot During the Pandemic
When the pandemic shutdown began in March, few of us thought we’d still be social-distancing in August. But even during the lockdown era, Hollywood has cautiously resumed production on television shows across the dial, from daytime dramas to dog-grooming competitions. (Woof!)
As filming restarts, TV producers and crews have gone to great lengths to keep everyone safe, whether it means setting up a quarantine camp on a studio lot or filming TV shows in the cast members’ residences. Scroll down to read about the shows that have resumed production in recent months—and to discover how they did it.
The NBC talent competition resumed filming in June, setting up shop at a drive-in movie theater in Simi Valley, California. “I could see the relief on the crew’s faces that they were back at work, and then we turned around the corner to the set we’d built, and it was honestly one of the most amazing experiences I can remember for a long time,” Simon Cowell told Deadline. (Cowell was later sidelined by a back injury, with Kelly Clarkson temporarily stepping in as a guest judge.)
Clare Crawley’s season of the long-running ABC dating show restarted production in Southern California earlier this summer, with Crawley and her suitors—and Tayshia Adams and her suitors?—scheduled to spend the entire season quarantined at a private resort, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The CBS daytime drama got back into the swing of production in mid-June, with the actors spaced eight feet apart at all times. “We feel we’re ready to go,” executive producer/head writer Bradley Bell told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “Safety is our utmost concern and will be as we return to production.”
The longest-running American soap opera still on-air returned to ABC on August 3 after resuming shooting July 22, Deadline reports—thus saving fans from weeks of reruns after the stockpile of pre-pandemic episodes ran out in May.
Love in the Time of Corona
Leslie Odom Jr., L. Scott Caldwell, Gil Bellows, and Tommy Dorfman rank among the cast of this four-part Freeform limited series—debuting August 22—which was filmed in the actors’ homes using remote technology. “This is the perfect show for a generation who is learning to love and be loved in a time when the entire world is telling them to stay six feet apart,” Freeform exec Lauren Corrao said in a statement.
This HBO Max dog-grooming competition finished a four-week shoot in Simi Valley, California, in early August, per The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a testament to the cast and crew that we produced such a brilliant series in a safe and controlled environment,” said Brooke Posch of Jax Media. “We’re excited to see it come to life and give these dogs their moment.”
I Can See Your Voice
The upcoming Fox game show—in which contestants have to distinguish good singers from bad by appearance alone—only made one episode before the pandemic shutdown, but I Can See Your Voice restarted production earlier in August, Deadline reports.
Cameras rolled again on the CW fantasy drama's third season in early June—in Serbia. “We are excited to be one of the first productions to resume after the TV and film industry was put on pause,” executive producer Dean Devlin told Deadline. “[Production company] Balkanic Media has gone above and beyond to ensure everyone’s safety on-set, and we are happy that the third season of The Outpost will be completed and ready to premiere fall 2020.”
Hollywood mogul Tyler Perry set up “Camp Quarantine” at his studio lot in Atlanta for a July 30 start on BET's White House-set soap, with only one cast member opting out. “She was much older,” Perry explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “Just with her health, she was extremely concerned about it. I called her up to tell her that I completely understood, and that I look forward to working with her again in the future.”
In July, this Tyler Perry BET dramedy, meanwhile, became the first American TV show to finish production on a season during the pandemic, filming 22 episodes in just 11 days, THR reports.
ABC’s game show reboot became the first high-profile unscripted show to resume production when it kicked off shooting in late July, per Deadline. To help out during the pandemic, the groceries from the Leslie Jones-hosted series are being donated to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and other charities.
The CBS procedural launched filming for its fourth season on August 4. “It might be a gloomy grey morning in L.A.,” the writers of the show tweeted, “but it’s a very special one—happy first day of S4 production to the most amazing cast and crew!"
ABC’s upcoming surfing reality competition was in production as of early August, filming at champion surfer Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in Kings County, California, according to Deadline. “Every person who came up was put in a hotel and tested,” explained Nicholas Caprio, Chief Content Officer at Pilgrim Media Group. “When they got negative, they could go inside the ranch and [the production] tested them again a week later. That included anyone who came in, whether it was a judge or talent.”