‘SNL’ Airs With Limited Cast and Crew Due to Rising Covid-19 Cases

FILE – Paul Rudd attends the premiere of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” at AMC Lincoln Square 13 Nov. 15, 2021, in New York. People’s Sexiest Man Alive of 2021 is set to be inducted into the vaunted Five-Timers Club on “Saturday Night Live,” but the surging omicron variant of the coronavirus means there won’t be a live audience to see it happen. The show announced on social media Saturday, Dec. 18, that the night’s episode would tape without a live audience and with only limited cast and crew. “Ant-Man” star Rudd is the host and British pop star Charli XCX is the night’s musical guest. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

(CNN) – The show went on for “Saturday Night Live” Saturday, but without its usual studio audience and its musical guest.

The NBC variety show said late Saturday afternoon it would not have a live audience in the studio because of the recent rise in Covid-19 cases.

“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,'” an NBC spokesperson said in a statement.

The show opened with host Paul Rudd joining actors Tom Hanks, Tina Fey, and cast member Kenan Thompson on stage for his induction into the show’s Five-Timers Club for those who have hosted the program at least five times.

They then explained the show would contain a combination of sketches taped earlier this week and classic Christmas sketches from years past.

Shortly after the show’s announcement Saturday afternoon, Charli XCX tweeted that “due to the limited crew at tonight’s taping of SNL my musical performance will no longer be able to go ahead.”

“I am devastated and heartbroken,” she tweeted. “I am currently safe and healthy but of course very sad. Please look after yourselves out there.”

NBC added in its statement that “the show continues to follow government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol.”

“SNL” pulling its audience is just the latest live event in New York City to be disrupted by the pandemic.

Several Broadway shows were forced to cancel performances this week due to positive Covid-19 tests among the cast or crew. One of the city’s most beloved Christmas traditions, the Radio City Rockettes’ ‘Christmas Spectacular’ shows, were also canceled due to Covid-19.

“SNL” has had a live audience so far through its current fall season. During the early days of the pandemic, the show was forced to shut down and episodes were put together from cast members’ homes.

Nikki Meoro explains how SNL changed their finale due to new coronavirus variant.

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