Pandemic Productions: NFL, ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’ ‘The Drew Barrymore Show,’ & More!

This week we’re taking a look at how live shows are coping without a live audience, including the NFL, Jimmy Kimmel Live and more!

We’ve been keeping you updated on what productions are coming back following the Covid lockdown. Following strict precautions, live television has started filming in the studio again and we love to see it!

Except…can we see it?

The charm of live shows has largely been thanks to live audience members laughing and cheering in the crowd. With this no longer being possible in many circumstances, shows are coming up with alternatives to these once live audiences.

Let’s take a look at what some shows have been doing!

Jimmy Kimmel Live

The famous ABC late night talk show hosted by Jimmy Kimmel has suspended its live audience indefinitely. This wasn’t an easy decision, but one they felt had to be made. The show uses a laugh track to set the vibe instead. While it can be cheesy at times (even Kimmel seems to laugh at it) it does the trick.

The Masked Singer & I Can See Your Voice

These two shows are both very similar. They’re mystery singing competitions, they both premiere on Fox, and they both feature Ken Jeong as a personality! However, this isn’t the only similarity between the two. The shows premiered their seasons live at the end of this September, but with some strange edits. While watching the show, you may notice that the hosts and contestants on stage are all socially distancing, but when the camera angle changes the venue appears to be packed with non-mask wearing, live audience members. This is because Fox has decided to use old audience footage for the show.

Some fans, such as the Twitter user below, are understandably worried by this.

Others just want it to stop!

The Drew Barrymore Show

Barrymore’s new show premiered this September and it certainly wasn’t the start she imagined for her first talk show. Yet, the show has been going well with a virtual audience that joins in. The virtual audience appears on screen every so often and is sometimes asked questions! You can get tickets to be in the virtual audience through the show’s website, but they sell out fast.


Fans across the U.S. were eagerly awaiting to hear if they would be allowed in football stadiums this year. However, the answer wasn’t as cut and dry as hoped. It really depends on where your stadium is located. Some stadiums are allowing limited capacity, and others not at all. The Denver Broncos is one team allowing a limited capacity of spectators at their home games. With a lot of empty seats, they’ve turned to cardboard cutouts of Southpark characters to fill them!


The NFL isn’t the only sports league getting creative for their fans! NBA teams have been live streaming games so no one will miss a beat. To add more fun to it, the league has a virtual audience that appears to be sitting in seats. Check out these fans “at” a Portland Trail Blazers’ game!

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Ellen’s show was moved back into the studio this fall despite many bumps in the road. This daytime show is interesting to examine because they took a rather creative route to replace audience members. Filling the stands with television screens, each TV has an individual audience member who is video calling into the show. Eerily futuristic, at least they are able to engage with their audience!

We’re glad to see shows taking precautions seriously, by holding off on live audiences or following appropriate guidelines! What other live shows or events have you seen getting creative with audience members?

About the Author

Avatar photo
Haley Mendoza

Haley Mendoza is a lover of all things film and TV. Whether you want to bond over horror movies or competition shows, she’s always down. Haley attends Emerson College, pursuing a degree in Media and Visual Arts and writing scripts in her spare time.