Hot Seat thwarted after Masked Singer shut down

Hot Seat was due to resume production at Docklands Studios this week but has been denied a restart after several crew tested positive to COVID on The Masked Singer.

While Nine’s game show uses a different studio space, both use shared facilities. The site has had to undergo a deep clean following an outbreak on 10’s reality series, which was due to film its grand final on Saturday.

All cast and crew are now in isolation awaiting test results with the news reaching all the way to Hollywood trade press, Deadline.

Yesterday Premier Daniel Andrews was asked why the show had been filming.

“They’re not decisions that are necessarily made by me. What I would say, though …in Screen for instance, there are some productions, that if they if they weren’t to continue, then the whole thing would basically fall over and would be lost to Victoria. Again, it’s done on a case by case basis, and it’s always accompanied by a COVID-safe plan.

“I’m not pleased that it makes the point but it again makes the point that this is a wildly infectious virus and even if you’ve got the very best protocols in place, you will see positive cases.”

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton also said the risks in television production were similar to those in other workplaces.

“It does speak to the fact that workplaces in particular -because people are not necessarily wearing masks if their work doesn’t allow them to have them- might be in closer proximity because of the nature of the work. That’s one of the issues in meatworks. It can be an issue in other industries. So with a very infectious virus, that’s what happens: you get a cluster of cases,” he said.

“There are a number of people who will be in isolation now awaiting test results, and there’ll be a number of close contacts who will need to do that 14 days of quarantine, as well.

“I think we’re always looking at industries in the broader sense, but I don’t think any particular outbreak that occurs in an industry necessarily means that anything’s gone wrong. It does relate to the fact that anyone who comes in with the virus can spread it to others in the workplace.”

Television was deemed an essential service under Stage 4 restrictions, with the rules determining those currently in production could continue.

“The determination’s been made around broad sectors that are considered essential and television is one of those,” said Sutton. “How the determination is being made for every single show? I’m not sure. I’m not even sure it’s possible to say ‘this is a program that can go ahead and this one can’t go ahead’. It will be about the broader workplace issues with the program.

“There’ll be operational considerations that (The Masked Singer will) need to come to. Obviously, it’s gone through a clean, there’ll be a review of a whole bunch of processes. But for the close contacts they’ll need to quarantine for 14 days. It will really be around how essential some of those staff are to the program.”

The Masked Singer set its sights on Melbourne after studio availability became limited in Sydney, with 10 opting for the Docklands space due to its privacy and the ability to keep talent secret.

All episodes other than the grand final remain unaffected. 10 is yet to advise contingency plans.

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