ABC’s American Idol is supposed to begin airing live performance shows in just a couple of days. But last week, prep work, including rehearsals with the finalists, was suspended, and the contestants were sent home to be with their families amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic. Almost all of the big tentpole formats, from American Idol and Survivor to American Ninja Warrior and The Bachelorette have been hit by the production shutdown. The reality pipeline is, however, not running completely dry.
A number of new unscripted show treatments are now making the rounds in Hollywood,
A clever mashup of The Bachelorette and the film Contagion, this compelling new show features an attractive sub-25 YO women in 14-day quarantine thanks to a positive COVID-19 swab test. She's seeking the love of her life via shouted interviews through a closed bedroom door. Production note: All contestants should be under 70. Just in case.
Comedians In Cars With Corona Getting Tested
In this hilarious new "buddy" show, comedians who have "recovered" (or have they?? ) from the virus drive vintage cars to COVID-19 testing sites on high-security military bases, all the while cracking wise about having to tell jokes with very little lung function. Sure to be a hit with the 18-45 white male demo.
So You Think You Can Leave The House?
You'd better think again, because the cops are issuing $500 citations as contestants try to sneak outside and gather in groups of more than 10 to par-tay! Can the buff lads make it to Lauderdale and throw a blow-out kegger on the beach? If they do, they continue on to the next episode.
The Masked Surgeon
In this suspenseful vote-'em-off, contestants wearing impressive masks (but not that kind) pretend to be doctors in the ER treating COVID-19 patients. The contestants with the most outrageous masks get to make it to next week, with a twist: only if they can get sick patients onto a ventilator in 30 seconds or less! And... there aren't enough ventilators! Truly life or death on this one!
Survivor: New York City
Wuhan's got nothing on the Big Apple as contestants from all over the country are shoved cheek-to-jowl into a Brooklyn (aka Ground Zero) apartment. How will they get groceries? How will they party? And how will the good looking ones pair off when they find out that two members of the group have COVID-19? Each week's winner gets an N95 face mask!
Want to watch two white, rich Hollywood families with no discernible means of supporting themselves do nothing but sit by the pool all day and drink because they can't leave the gated grounds? Of course you do, because you're stuck at home too! And you got no pool.
-- Josh Piven