the coronavirus

Which TV Shows Have Dared to Restart Production Amid COVID-19?

The Continent could probably handle a pandemic … not. Photo: Katalin Vermes

Viewers have been subjecting themselves to a steady diet of reheated television episodes since the coronavirus pandemic began in March, which effectively shut down the industry as we know it for several long months. As delightful as it might be to rewatch Frasier and Gilmore Girls for the umpteenth time, though, we’re gonna go with a 30 Rock line of thought for how we’re feeling about the lack of new stuff in our queues: Brains need stimulus, brains need new episodes of a Netflix show that’s definitely way too long, or else our pleasure centers literally shrink. Punch us in the face, TV!

Luckily, some productions have begun venturing back to their studios under enhanced safety protocols, with more shows also expected to start up again in the next few weeks. (And be prepared to see a lot of coronavirus story lines when the time comes.) Here, Vulture will keep a regularly updated running list of these confirmed shows.

The Bachelorette

The ABC reality series, which will be starring two leading ladies this season thanks to some truly remarkable behind-the-scenes drama, began filming at a Palm Springs–area resort in July. All contestants and crew members had to quarantine for 14 days prior to the start of filming, and the entire season will be taking place within the ritzy confines of the resort. Due to the strict production protocols, Chris Harrison had to be replaced as host mid-season by Bachelorette alum JoJo Fletcher as he decided to temporary leave the show to move his son to college. ABC plans to air the season in September.

Love Island

The American version of the popular reality series, which will be utilizing a “quarantine bubble” format, began filming its new season at a Las Vegas boutique hotel (the Cromwell) in early August. Like The Bachelorette, all contestants and production members were required to quarantine at the hotel for 14 days prior to the start of filming. The season will premiere on August 24 on CBS. Love Island U.K., meanwhile, has entirely canceled its summer 2020 series.

The Witcher

Toss a coin for this good news! The Netflix drama, starring Henry Cavill in a bathtub, resumed production on August 17. The show confirmed the news with a lovely little poem on social media.

Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune

What is … terrific? Game-show mainstays Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, which are both produced by Sony Pictures Television, were confirmed to be starting up production again in July. There will be noticeable tweaks for both of the show’s sets: More space will be put between the Jeopardy! contestants’ podiums while Wheel of Fortune’s wheel has been redesigned to “provide proper social distancing between contestants.”


The CBS drama starring Shemar Moore became the first prime-time scripted series to resume production in early August. S.W.A.T. films around various locations in Southern California.

Big Brother

As with The Bachelorette and Love Island, production resumed on CBS’s Big Brother following a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for contestants and crew. (At the start of the pandemic, Big Brother: Germany birthed a viral moment in which contestants were finally alerted about the coronavirus during their isolation.) The All Stars season, which includes fan favorites such as season-19 winner Josh Martinez, season-18 winner Nicole Franzel, and season-14 winner Ian Terry, premiered on August 5.

The Conners

The Roseanne spinoff (damn, remember all of that drama?) resumed production for its upcoming third season in mid-August. A “minimal crew” is being used, and there will be no live audience for episode tapings.

Dancing With the Stars

ABC confirmed that your mom’s favorite competition series (now with host Tyra Banks and a “new creative direction”) will commence its cha-cha-cha-ing on September 14. The professional dancers for season 29 will include Cheryl Burke, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sasha Farber, Peta Murgatroyd, Pasha Pashkov, and Gleb Savchenko, while the first contestant was announced as former Bachelorette lead Kaitlyn Bristowe.

The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital, and other soap operas

The Bold and the Beautiful was the first television series to resume filming, soap opera or otherwise, amid the pandemic in June. Executive producer and head writer Bradley Bell explained that this was made possible due to frequent testing and social distancing among the actors and crew members, as well as the use of blow-up dolls for intimate scenes. Soap-opera mainstays General Hospital and The Young and the Restless soon followed in July, while Days of Our Lives will begin filming again in early September.

Tyler Perry productions

Tyler Perry started production back up on a slew of projects in July, coining the phrase “camp quarantine” for his sprawling Atlanta-based studio complex. This included his two ensemble shows for BET, Sistas and The Oval, both of which finished ahead of schedule and with no coronavirus outbreaks. In an interview, Perry said that he strictly followed a 30-page safety document that he wrote, which outlined protocol to ensure his cast and crew would remain in good health. “This may sound a little arrogant,” he explained, “but the truth is we literally sat and went through every scenario that we could, so there was nothing that caught us by surprise.” As for why Perry wrote the comprehensive safety document himself, he added: “It had to be because Black and brown people are the ones who are most affected in the death rate of this.”


The long-running CW series, which was set to conclude its run in the spring after an astounding 15 seasons, resumed production on its final episodes in mid-August. Those seven episodes will finally give closure to the Winchester boys and begin airing on October 8.

Carnival Row

The Amazon fairy drama, starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, was able to stealthily finish filming its second season in the Czech Republic thanks to following “strict coronavirus protocols.” The two weeks of required shoots were completed in late August.

Which TV Shows Have Restarted Production Amid COVID-19?