March 18, 2020
Hollywood; Getty Images

The coronavirus crisis has had wide-ranging effects on the entertainment business. Closures, cancellations, postponements and other measures have been implemented across the board as companies scramble to comply with new regulations and keep their employees and the public safe. Film and TV production is suspended; plays, concerts and sporting events are postponed or canceled; festivals and events drawing large crowds are delayed; and museums and libraries have closed their doors. Entertainment companies that have not shut down entirely have directed employees to work from home.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that there be no gatherings of over 50 people for the next eight weeks (with the exception of schools and businesses), before President Donald Trump announced new guidelines that urged Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. Mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered all Los Angeles theaters, cinemas, nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms and dine-in restaurants be closed through March 31. Restaurants will accept only delivery and takeout orders.

With no end to the restrictions in sight, the long-term impact remains unknown. But you don’t have to settle for watching sitcom reruns and the same old DVDs while practicing social distancing at home. There are other ways to cope with the entertainment vacuum. Here are some suggestions.

Several highly anticipated openings slated for March and April have been scratched. The James Bond thriller “No Time to Die” will now premiere in November, “Peter Rabbit 2” has been moved to August and “F9,” the latest installment in Vin Diesel’s “Fast and Furious” saga, has been pushed back to April 2021. “A Quiet Place II,” “Mulan” and “The Artist’s Wife,” with Lena Olin and Bruce Dern, have yet to be rescheduled. Most films now in production, especially those shooting in foreign locations, have been suspended. This includes the Elvis Presley biopic starring Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker that was underway in Australia. The actor and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive for COVID-19.

Nearly all TV shows have temporarily shut down or have delayed the start of production, including returning programs and pilots for network consideration. This could have a significant effect on the fall 2020 season. A few game and talk shows are still taping without studio audiences, including “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy!,” “Live with Kelly and Ryan” and “The View.” All the late-night talk shows and “Saturday Night Live” have gone on hiatus. And shows shot even partially overseas quickly changed plans. “The Bachelorette” will remain stateside this season, “Survivor,” which films in Fiji, has delayed its production start until May, and the globetrotting “The Amazing Race” packed up and headed home.

Fortunately, there’s a great crop of new shows premiering this month on broadcast, cable and streaming channels. “Little Fires Everywhere,” based on Celeste Ng’s bestseller, premiered March 18 on Hulu. “Brockmire,” starring Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet, returned to IFC for its fourth season on March 18. “Top Chef” returned for an L.A.-based All-Stars season March 19 on Bravo, and the sitcom “One Day at a Time” shifts to Pop TV for its fourth season on March 24. Set in the ultra-Orthodox community, the miniseries “Unorthodox” debuts March 26 on Netflix, which premieres the third season of “Ozark” the following day. March 27 is also the premiere date for Amazon Prime’s new fashion design competition, “Making the Cut,” and PBS’ “Call the Midwife” returns for its ninth season on March 29. Released three months early, “Frozen II” is available now on Disney+.

The old adage “the show must go on” does not apply during the coronavirus outbreak. As per Garcetti’s directive, all shows are canceled through March 31. The Broad Stage has suspended performances through April 8. All programs and performances at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) have been postponed through April 12.

In live music, Pearl Jam, slated to play the Forum in Inglewood on April 15, has postponed the first leg of its tour. The Verdi Chorus has canceled its April performances, and the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals have been rescheduled, for Oct. 16-18 and 23-25, respectively. Purchased tickets will be honored for the new dates.

Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain and the Los Angeles Zoo are all closed, and annual events have been affected, as well. The L.A. County Air Show in Lancaster and the Electronic Entertainment Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center have been canceled, and the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books has been moved from mid-April to Oct. 3-4.

The PaleyFest TV show celebration has been postponed until later in the year, as has the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, the Beverly Hills Film Festival and the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival, which was to begin April 30. It will be rescheduled, possibly for June.

Professional sports including basketball, baseball, soccer and hockey have either suspended their seasons or delayed their starts, and the college hoops NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments were canceled. The Masters golf tournament has been postponed. In auto racing, the Long Beach Grand Prix, slated for April, is on hold and may be canceled.

The Skirball Cultural Center will be closed until May 3, and the Getty Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, the Griffith Observatory, the Hammer Museum, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Huntington Library are closed, with no projected reopening dates.

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust is closed through March 30, and events and programming are canceled through April. This includes the Violins of Hope exhibit of instruments rescued from the Holocaust, part of a monthlong series of exhibitions, concerts and educational events that were to be held around town. Violinist Niv Ashkenazi was slated to perform with the Long Beach Symphony and appear at dozens of schools, playing a rescued violin. Although those events will not take place, Ashkenazi has released “Violins of Hope,” an album of works by prominent Jewish composers or ones who have a Holocaust connection, the theme to “Schindler’s List” included among the selections.

The Los Angeles Public Library and the Beverly Hills Public Library are closed. Due dates on borrowed items have been extended, with no late fines assessed. Los Angeles County Library locations remain open, though all programs have been canceled through at least March 31. But all libraries offer cardholders free digital e-books, audiobooks and magazines, or you can sign up for 30-day free trial at Kindle Unlimited or Audible.

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