How COVID-19 Has Changed Our Viewing Timeline

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed all aspects of life. Of course with so much more time at home, people are spending more and more time in front of the screen. Thankfully with all the streaming options available these days, there is plenty of content to absorb. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, the amount of content the public has to choose from could soon be drastically reduced.

One of the trickle-down aspects of the coronavirus has been all the series and movies that had not yet finished shooting and/or their production. This has already impacted many current series looking to finish out their season. Shows like EMPIRE are having to alter their original plans for their series finale. EMPIRE still had two episodes of their 20-episode season to shoot before production shutdowns, and while half of episode 19 had been shot, the entire last episode of the finale still needed to be created. Because of these difficulties, EMPIRE creators had to get creative to create an episode to salvage the season, but it led to many unanswered questions regarding the storyline once the season was complete.

Of course, EMPIRE is not the only series to have to adjust their original production plans, many other television shows and events have had to make quick decisions to keep their momentum going. For example, the initial plan was for Las Vegas to host the NFL Draft. Due to the need for social distancing, the NFL Draft had to be conducted 100% virtually for the first time ever. This meant that there wouldn’t be any players bear hugging Roger Goodell after their name was called as they had to watch from home. Many fans of the NFL weren’t sure how the production would turn out. Would it be a large disaster that dominated the discussion of the weekend? Well it turns out that the virtual Draft was a huge success and was the most-watched NFL Draft of all time. Not bad for a backup plan.

Major television programs such as THE AMAZING RACE, AMERICAN IDOL and more have either been put on hold or switched to a new format to continue on. Some series that have always featured a live studio audience such as JEOPARDY and WHEEL OF FORTUNE, will be filmed without a live audience for the first time ever.

In other cases, many movies have been delayed or temporarily put on hold with all the uncertainty surrounding when things will be back to normal. Big name movies such as VENOM 2: LET THERE BE CARNAGE have been delayed–in this case until June 25th, 2021. VENOM 2 is in post-production and had been originally set to release to the public on October 2, 2020. Now fans will have to wait even longer to learn what happens next in the popular superhero series.

Fans of superhero movies will also be disappointed to hear that DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS has also been pushed back from November 2021 to March 2022.

Other movies with a huge cult following such as MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 7 & 8, the James Bond series, the FAST & FURIOUS series and more have also been delayed due to the production shutdown. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 7 had been previously set to release on July 23rd, 2021, but now will release on November 19th, 2021. Of course that delays MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 8 as well. Previously set for release on August 5th, 2022, MI8 now will be delayed to November 4th, 2022. The next continuation of the James Bond series, NO TIME TO DIE was supposed to hit theaters in April of 2020, now fans will have to wait until November 25th to see Bond in action again. The ninth film of the FAST & FURIOUS series, F9, was set to be released on May 22nd, 2020, but is now delayed until April 2nd, 2021.

Perhaps we will continue seeing new formats of content being delivered to us, like SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and their “At-Home” editions instead of being broadcast live or the “virtual NFL Draft”. Producers always find a way to break barriers and generate new ideas to create more content. It will be interesting to see how television shows and movies continue to adapt with everything going on.

Hopefully this pandemic will soon pass and we can all get back to living a normal life. I can appreciate the effort put forth by the television industry to continue working hard to provide the public with relatable content, but the other part of me can’t help but wonder how the producers intended to end EMPIRE, had we been able to witness their original ideas for their ideal series finale.

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