NEW YORK CITY (NEXSTAR) — This year’s final episode of “Saturday Night Live” was without a live audience — something viewers haven’t seen since the fall of 2020 — amid rising COVID-19 cases.
Hours before Saturday’s episode, the show announced that “due to a 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.'”
Saturday’s episode with host Paul Rudd also had a limited cast and crew. Because of the limited crew, planned musical guest Charli XCX did not perform. In a Twitter post, the singer shares she was “devastated and heartbroken,” but “currently safe and healthy.” She went on to encourage everyone to “look after yourselves out there and make sure you get vaccinated if you haven’t already.”
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, “SNL” moved to virtual shows, with its cast appearing from home in prerecorded segments or via Zoom. In October 2020, the show brought in a live studio audience for the first time.
This announcement comes just one day after the Rockettes canceled their annual “Christmas Spectacular” at Radio City Music Hall due to “increasing challenges from the pandemic.” Spiking COVID-19 cases have also forced the NFL to reschedule games, upended Broadway shows, and thrown Americans’ holiday travel plans into disarray.
New York state reported Friday that just over 21,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19 the previous day, the highest single-day total for new cases since testing became widely available.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.