Most Network TV Shows Won't Finish Their Current Seasons Due To The Coronavirus

As the list of entertainment productions forced to shut down due to the coronavirus continues to grow, a new report says those closures will result in most network TV shows not being able to finish their current seasons. Get the details below.

All of our lives have been disrupted in a way that's unprecedented in modern society thanks to COVID-19, and while we try to self-isolate in our homes to prevent the spread of the virus, we find ourselves with an awful lot of free time on our hands. Naturally, many of us are looking to fill that time by watching movies and TV shows, but here's some bad news for those of us who are closely following any show that airs on network TV. According to a new report at Vulture, "executives at the major broadcast TV networks are now working under the assumption that few — if any — of the dozens of series that halted production in recent days because of the coronavirus pandemic will be returning anytime soon." The report stresses that nothing is finalized yet, but "it now seems almost certain most series already on the air will end their seasons early, anywhere from one to four episodes short of their planned full-season orders."

Vulture points out that even in a best-case scenario in which the CDC lifts the restrictions on social distancing within the next couple of weeks, there are several reasons why it's unlikely that productions would try to ramp back up only to finish a small number of episodes. First, there's the cost of getting any show off the ground – renting production offices, trailers, paying catering companies, etc. Then there are the costs of paying the crews, and that's all before you consider that the actors may no longer be available due to previous commitments or other projects that they may have joined while the show was halted. Vulture says at least four shows have already informed their casts and crews that their seasons are over, though it can't reveal what those shows are yet.

Broadcast shows seem positioned to be affected the most here, since "most cable and streaming shows wrap production before their first episodes air, so it's unlikely there'll be suddenly shortened seasons for shows that have already started airing." The outlet suggests that we may see more delays for upcoming shows, following in the footsteps of FX's Fargo, which recently delayed its release of its fourth season.

Some of your favorite shows could simply end with major plotlines left hanging (although "some comedies, including Modern Family and Carol's Second Act, wrapped production weeks ago, so they'll air their full seasons as planned"). Bottom line: we could be left with a longer summer TV season than normal and very little new original programming to fill that period. We've been complaining for months about there being far too many streaming services out there, but it looks like they'll get the last laugh because we'll all need lots of stuff to watch in the coming days.