While much of the East Coast tries to figure out when they will get power or the water will go away, New York’s television, movie and theatrical worlds were grappling today with the question of how they can go on this week with no audience and possibly no crews.
With no power in Manhattan, many Broadway shows and daytime talk shows had to shut down on Tuesday, a day after Superstorm Sandy thrashed the city and outlying areas with vicious winds and rain.
While David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon again planned to tape their shows Tuesday, Jimmy Kimmel—who normally tapes his show in Los Angeles—canceled his homecoming special in Brooklyn. Kimmel picked the wrong week to relocate his show to New York.
Letterman taped his show yesterday with Denzel Washington as guest and no studio audience, which executive producer Rob Burnett said was a weird experience.
“Everything about it was the same, but there was no one to react to anything we were doing,” Burnett said.
After planning to tape his show on Tuesday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Howard Stern as his guest, Kimmel went on Twitter this afternoon to announce that his show was canceled.
Because of “sensitivity” over the storm, The “Today” Show canceled their annual on-air Halloween party, as did “Good Morning America.”
Daytime talk shows were hit hard, as were prime-time productions that tape in New York—the city revoked outdoor filming permits through Wednesday. The list of shows affected includes CBS dramas Elementary, Person of Interest, Blue Bloods and The Good Wife; NBC’s 30 Rock, Smash and Law & Order: SVU; Showtime’s The Big C and Nurse Jackie; and midseason series such as Fox’s The Following, ABC’s Zero Hour, NBC’s Deception and Do No Harm, CBS’ Golden Boy and FX drama The Americans.
Because episodes are filmed well in advance of their air dates, studios have some cushion with the dramas. But Broadway faces some tougher decisions, as shows have to wrestle with the question of the audience.
Broadway producers expect to resume performances Wednesday night, though “we’re still concerned about whether we can get all actors and employees in for matinees,” Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League, told USA Today.
St. Martin admitted that making the call on whether shows will go on “has been an excruciating decision each day. We know that so many people are in from out of town and may not have a chance to see a certain show again.” Less popular shows, in contrast, “don’t want to cancel three or four times if they’re trying to stay alive.”
She concedes that “the economic impact will be greater this week than it normally would,” because many shows that don’t normally do Sunday and Monday night shows had planned performances on Monday and Tuesday this week rather than on Halloween tomorrow.
Production in Long Island on feature film “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe, was also suspended, as an ark proved unseaworthy. “I take it that the irony of a massive storm holding up the production of Noah is not lost,” said co-star Emma Watson on Twitter.