New rules around 14 day self-isolation for incoming travellers will ripple across television production.
Today weatherman Tim Davies last night confirmed he would be forced to undergo self-isolation after flying in from Dubai after the midnight deadline.
But there will be others, whether as talent, crew or network executives.
A number of shows such as 60 Minutes, Foreign Correspondent and Dateline rely on their reporters travelling the globe. Interview shows including The Project, Sunrise, Today, Studio 10, The Morning Show, Q&A regularly feature international guests.
“It will be difficult to convince top talent to return if they have to self-isolate for 2 weeks”
The Voice has already completed its Blind Auditions and Battle Rounds, which has bought it some time -but will Boy George and Kelly Rowland return for Live shows if this drags on? The Masked Singer also has Lindsay Lohan returning in coming months -it will be difficult to convince top talent to return if they have to self-isolate for 2 weeks.
Australia’s Got Talent has no international judges this year, but would be expected to fly in international acts. AGT has the double whammy of facing no audiences. Also facing impacts are Holey Moley (to film in the US), SAS: Who Dares Wins (NZ shooting – potentially 2 x 2 weeks isolation each).
Seven’s Olympics -should they miraculously proceed (which nobody but Seven believes)- could potentially mean self-isolation for the entire commentary / hosting team based in Japan.
Australian Ninja Warrior begins filming its fourth season today at its new site, Melbourne Showgrounds.
A Nine spokesperson confirmed to TV Tonight it will be without an audience aside from a few family and friends -particularly challenging given the expansive course.
Australian Survivor is due to film in Fiji from April and entails a hefty cast and crew. In truth it only needs a tropical backdrop (Queensland anybody?) but Fiji offers infrastructure from season to season as well as financial incentives.
Meanwhile, Christian Wilkins, competing on Dancing with the Stars, was not aware of his father Richard Wilkins’ positive diagnosis until after the episode wrapped last night.
Although he does not believe he has been exposed, he has self-isolated and will be tested first thing on Monday morning.
A Network 10 spokesperson said: “A number of precautions had already been put in place for Sunday’s show to minimise any potential exposure or spread of the virus including promoting good hygiene practices backstage and in-studio, and filming without a studio audience.
“All Dancing With The Stars cast and crew have been asked to self-monitor for symptoms relating to COVID-19 while we await the results of Christian’s test. Warner Bros. and Network 10 will provide all cast and crew the appropriate accommodation and support during this time.”
Thankfully, there are many shows that have safely completed filming including Lego Masters, Travel Guides, Between Two Worlds, Bachelor in Paradise, Rosehaven, Hungry Ghosts, Farmer Wants a Wife, Hard Quiz, Informer 3838, The Heights, Hughesy We Have a Problem, How to Stay Married, The Secrets She Keeps, The End, Mystery Road while others are underway locally including The Block, Wentworth, Five Bedrooms, RFDS, Neighbours, Home and Away, Mad as Hell, MasterChef Australia.
Safest shoot in Australia right now? The Big Brother house or the Gogglebox couch…
But there are also risks for projects that are currently in production with a ‘one out / all out’ threat.
Screen Producers Australia CEO Matthew Deaner, said, “The screen industry is a powerful sector. $3 billion in economic contribution. Some 30,000 FTE jobs. Finances flow from every shoot, from every business into communities around Australia. Nimble SMEs driving employment that export our stories to the globe. But like a lot of creative industries the screen sector is also fragile. There is limited ongoing security: a gig-based model for both for the businesses and the workforce.
“A massive disruption created by a pandemic will severely disrupt our industry. Productions employ thousands in teams; actors and crews need to be with each other to work. There is no remote opportunity for employment on physical production.
” This may mean an automatic stand down of the production for at least 2 weeks.”
“Diagnosed cases will mean suspension, delays or terminations of productions. If one person on a shoot contracts the coronavirus, this may mean an automatic stand down of the production for at least 2 weeks. This could be repeated endlessly resulting in the termination of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of work.
“Help will be needed to ride out this crisis. While businesses are undertaking continuity planning and efforts are being made to minimise the impact, support will be needed to minimise bankruptcies and job losses.
“We will continue to work with the Government to ensure the continuing health of our sector in these difficult times.”