Study: Coronavirus Will Delay 60 Percent of Scripted TV Shows

Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company

Hollywood depends on a steady flow of new content to keep people at home and glued to their screens. But the Chinese coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the once-reliable pipeline, jeopardizing the supply of new shows that streamers and broadcasters depend on to keep consumers hooked.

A new study has found that the coronavirus pandemic will cause an estimated 60 percent of scripted TV shows to be delayed as Hollywood production remains in a state of limbo. The report also estimated that 10% of planned drama and comedy shows will likely be abandoned altogether as a result of the outbreak.

Cote de Pablo as Ziva David, Mark Harmon as Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the 17th season premiere of NCIS. Erik Voake/CBS Television Network

Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Blake Shelton of The Voice. Trae Patton/NBC

Deadline reported that the new study from Ampere Analysis expects that broadcasters will release between 5 percent to 10 percent fewer new scripted titles on a monthly basis than previously predicted during the second half of 2020. The ripple effects of the shutdown are likely to be felt well into next year.

Ampere found at least one bright spot amid the industry gloom — reality TV shows are likely to bounce back faster. Reality series are cheaper and faster to produce than scripted content, and often require fewer crew members. A limited number of reality titles have already resumed production, one industry source recently told Breitbart News.

Rob Gronkowski and host Nick Cannon in The Masked Singer. Michael Becker / FOX

Donnie Wahlberg and Tom Selleck in Blue Bloods. Craig Blankenhorn/CBS Television Network

The study concluded that the Chinese coronavirus will result in fewer new shows being greenlit in the foreseeable future.

“The knock-on effect of delayed releases is a likely depression of the number of new commissions for some time after the shutdown ends, as commissioners look to fill schedules with delayed projects they have already invested in before signing off new ones,” Fred Black, senior analyst at Ampere Analysis, said in the report, according to Deadline.

The major Hollywood studios are currently working with state governments and industry trade unions to create safety protocols for when shooting resumes in the U.S. None of the major studios — as well as Netflix or Amazon — has said when they plan on re-starting domestic production.

The indefinite hiatus has thrown tens of thousands of Hollywood union members out of work. Before the coronavirus, TV production was soaring thanks to a bottomless demand for new content fueled by the digital streaming revolution.

Production has already started again in New Zealand, where Amazon has been shooting its highly anticipated Lord of the Rings series. A handful of European countries are also set to resume filming on a limited basis, including Poland, the Czech Republic, and France.

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