Britain’s Got Talent has become the latest TV show to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic – with the live finals postponed.
The pre-recorded auditions with judges Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon, Simon Cowell and David Walliams will air in the next few weeks.
But the live finals, hosted by Ant and Dec, will now be broadcast at a date yet to be set later in the year.
“The Britain’s Got Talent audition shows will broadcast on ITV in the next few weeks,” the broadcaster said in a statement.
“We have been working … to find a way of making the live finals work, which were due to be broadcast at the end of May.
“However, in light of the latest Government health guidelines and in line with our priority of safeguarding the well-being of everyone involved in our programmes, production of the live shows cannot go ahead as planned.
“The live finals will therefore be broadcast later in the year.”
Following yesterdayâs announcement that filming of @itvcorrie & Emmerdale will be suspended, @ITV has taken the decision to reduce Emmerdaleâs transmission pattern to 3 episodes per week from 30 March - airing on Mon, Wed & Fri with #Corrie at 7.30pm on the same nights #Emmerdale pic.twitter.com/PtIAhIUDcd— Emmerdale (@emmerdale) March 23, 2020
The announcement comes amid huge disruption to the TV industry, with filming on EastEnders, Emmerdale and Coronation Street suspended.
The number of weekly instalments of the soaps have been cut to keep them on TV for as long as possible.
As well as EastEnders, the BBC suspended filming of Casualty, Doctors, Holby City, River City and Welsh series Pobol y Cwm.
Last night's Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway had its biggest ever audience of 9.5m viewers (average) and almost half of all TV viewers. 11.1 million peak. https://t.co/Zf9qOKhccY pic.twitter.com/t581U2jB1H— ITV Press Centre (@itvpresscentre) March 22, 2020
ITV stalwarts Lorraine and Loose Women have stopped broadcasting live, while the semi-final and final of The Voice have been postponed.
Filming on Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks has also been paused and the number of weekly episodes reduced from five to three.
But there has been some good news for TV bosses – Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway scored its highest viewer ratings at the weekend, after airing without a live audience for the first time in 18 years.