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‘Saturday Night Live’ to Air Without Live Audience Due to Omicron

Due to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in New York City, Saturday’s holiday episode of “Saturday Night Live” will proceed without a live audience. The upcoming broadcast is set to be the final new episode before the production takes a break and returns in 2022.

“Due to the recent spike in the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, there will be no live audience for tonight’s taping of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and the show will have limited cast and crew,” reads a statement on the series’ official Twitter. “The show continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol.”

Specific details defining the limitations in the number of cast and crew members are currently unclear, as are any additional health and safety protocols provided to personnel on set. Paul Rudd will marquee the episode, his fifth time hosting the show. The “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” star will be joined by Charli XCX as musical guest for her second “SNL” appearance.

The news comes in the wake of several adjustments and cancellations within the entertainment industry responding to a new surge of COVID-19. Most recently, the CBS comedy “Ghosts” halted production in Montreal after a case of COVID-19 was detected on set. A talent agent who attended the “Spider-Man: No Way Home” premiere and Tom Holland’s proceeding after party also tested positive for COVID. On Broadway, musicals such as “Mrs. Doubtfire: The Musical,” “MJ The Musical” and “Hamilton” have announced hiatuses and cancelled shows. And beyond entertainment, the Netherlands just announced a country-wide lockdown of non-essential schools and businesses.

Much of the renewed attention to COVID-19 precautions are driven by the latest Omicron variant. First detected in the U.S. on Dec. 1 after earlier appearing in other countries, Omicron has not been found to be more severe than the Delta variant, but it is more transmissible.




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