The Old and the Distanced

Coronavirus hasn’t stopped everything: What is and isn’t in production right now

Now that the coronavirus pandemic has halted traditional production on a number of films and TV shows and constantly shifted release dates for the summer’s biggest blockbusters, many productions are getting creative on creating entertainment.

Here’s a brief rundown of new, coronavirus-produced content coming soon to a screen near you.

Zoomers

Host was just the beginning. There were bound to be imitations of the quarantine-filmed spookfest even if it didn’t end up a hit for Shudder. There’s at least one other film in production that was shot on Zoom: Untitled Horror Movie, which centers around six actors trying to film their own horror movie on the cheap. Expect more imitations to follow.

The OTHER John David Washington movie

The torturous path to release for Tenet continues. Currently, it’s releasing in certain markets at the end of this month, and in certain cities in the U.S. the first week of September. But regardless of whether or not it ever appears,  viewers can still see a new movie starring John David Washington.

Malcolm & Marie touts itself as “the first film written, directed and completed” during the coronavirus pandemic (is this going to be the new “from a producer of The Walking Dead” credit?). It stars Washington and Zendaya. The plot is unknown, but one report likens it to Marriage Story. Malcolm & Marie reportedly already completed production in July, but doesn’t have a release date yet.

Tyler Perry
The Coronavirus will not stop Tyler Perry’s ‘Sistas’.

Tyler Perry completed an entire second season of his BET show Sistas during quarantine in Atlanta. Perry used a bubble set for filming, keeping cast and crew inside the bubble for the duration of the shoot. He’s also using the same production methods to make three other shows between now and September- season two of BET’s The Oval and BET+’s Bruh and Ruthless.

Daytime Quarantine
Coronavirus
Melody Thomas Scott and Eric Braeden keep their distance on ‘The Young and the Restless’.

The Young and the Restless started airing new episodes on CBS Aug. 10, joining fellow CBS programmer The Bold and the Beautiful, which had been airing new episodes since July. ABC’s General Hospital started airing new episodes Aug. 3. Days of Our Lives never stopped airing new episodes. The Bold and the Beautiful was the first of the bunch to return to production during quarantine on June 16. Days of Our Lives is set to resume shooting Sept. 1.

Game Shows and Reality TV

Multiple game shows or unscripted reality shows are returning to production right now. Jeopardy! And Wheel of Fortune were on hiatus because of the pandemic, but resumed filming in July with safety precautions in place. Card Sharks and Shark Tank are back in production as well.

ABC is also reviving Supermarket Sweep with new host Leslie Jones. That’s filming right now and is adhering to industry safety guidelines, and will be donating all edible produce and grocery items to Los Angeles-area charities.

The $100,000 Pyramid, with host Michael Strahan, is returning to its New York studio in New York at the end of August- reportedly one of the first non-scripted shows in the state to do so. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon already moved back into 30 Rock a few weeks ago.

The WB’s superhero shows

Deadline is reporting a tentative production start date of Aug. 20-27 in Vancouver for WB shows like The Flash, Riverdale and Superman and Lois. Some cast and crew from Supernatural reportedly started arriving in Canada earlier in July.

Pandora’s box

Avatar 2 was originally slated for a 2014 release. That didn’t happen because of a number of technical difficulties, shifting release dates and Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox. Avatar 2 was most recently delayed to 2022, with three other sequels to follow. All started filming in New Zealand in June, but were indefinitely delayed in July due to coronavirus cases in America.

The one where the Friends don’t reunite

A Friends reunion special was one of the biggest selling points for HBO Max. They set an unscripted reunion special to film in front of a live audience in March. Now, that reunion has been put on pause with no set filming date.

 

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Jake Harris

Jake Harris is a Texas-based journalist whose writing about pop culture and entertainment has appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Nashville Scene and more. You can find more of his writings at jakeharrisbog.com or through his pop culture newsletter, Jacob's Letter.

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