The NBC reality show America’s Got Talent was one of many TV series affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Recently, one of the judges on AGT, Simon Cowell — as well as others working on the show — revealed their plans for Judge Cuts and live episodes, which are stilling happening amid the global pandemic.
Simon Cowell and ‘AGT’ executives say they held most of their contestants’ auditions before the outbreak
USA Today recently reported on America’s Got Talent‘s currently airing Season 15, which began taping during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As bad as it is, you always have to find a solution to get back to work,” judge Simon Cowell wrote to the publication in an email. He continued:
I have sympathy for so many people in this situation, but if our show is an example, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s different, but hopefully it will still be as popular.
USA also spoke to the network’s EVP of alternative programming, Jenny Groom. She confirmed it was never even a potential option to shut this America’s Got Talent season down altogether.
“We wanted to figure out how can we do this in a safe manner and for fans to feel like they still get the show they love,” Groom explained. There is also an explicit concern for their viewers’ needs and wants during this difficult moment in history.
“We also talked a lot about how this is this show we feel America needs right now,” the executive continued. “They need to feel like they can escape.”
‘America’s Got Talent’ airing during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic means the reality competition show will look a bit different
USA Today also reported that America’s Got Talent, “summer’s most-watched show,” is taking every precaution — so fans still get their TV show. The publication expanded that fortunately, when lockdowns were put in place, AGT already had “about two-thirds of audition filming completed.” When things got more serious, “producers took a cautionary approach, filming the last few days without an audience.”
The NBC executive Groom also told USA Today the precautions they use to keep their reality TV personalities safe.
“We have the four judges show up separately in cars,” she said. From there, “they walk on to set and it’s this big, kind of drive-in movie screen.” That’s where chairs are set up — several feet apart from one another — so the judges can view the acts, as well as interact with the contestants — from wherever in the world they are.
“It ended up being really inspiring,” Groom emphasized. It got tricky with some acts, of course.
“When you have a bunch of pigs that are doing tricks or an aerialist, that’s a little bit harder to do on an iPhone,” Groom admitted. However, the producers are confident that this season of America’s Got Talent will still impress the audience at home.
How are the ‘America’s Got Talent’ judges dealing with Judge Cut episodes amid the pandemic?
For his part, the America’s Got Talent star Simon Cowell enjoyed coming back together for the Judge Cuts episodes.
“It was surreal, like being in a movie,” Cowell wrote in his email. The former American Idol judge continued:
As we drove onto the lot, everyone is walking around with masks and we go into this room and we’re told what we can do, what we can’t do and I’m thinking this is going to be a tough day. But there was this real buzz of excitement that we were all back together.
Later in the season, America’s Got Talent will increase the amount of live shows it airs, “to partly compensate for the loss of performances during the abbreviated Judge Cuts round.”