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Coronavirus pandemic shuts down broadcasters & halts filming

The resurgence of the new coronavirus in the greater Seoul area has dealt a critical blow to the country's media industry, temporarily shutting down a regular radio show and halting filming of a TV series.

CBS, a Seoul-based Christian TV and radio station, canceled its regular radio programming as one of its reporters tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, making it the first case of a shutdown of a major broadcaster due to COVID-19.

While the reporter appeared on a radio show Monday, all crew members and guests of the program, including former Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, have been quarantined and gotten tested. Lee tested negative for the virus but has to go through a two-week self-quarantine.

The broadcaster evacuated the building for disinfection, while its live programs were replaced with music streaming for about two days.

CBS said it resumed its regular programming at noon Thursday as all staff members of the radio program have tested negative.

The radio show will be emceed by a temporary figure until the main host completes her two-week self-quarantine, it added.

SBS, one of the three terrestrial broadcasters in South Korea, also shut down one of its buildings in Seoul on Thursday due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

It said a teacher of a child care center in SBS Prism Tower in northwestern Seoul has tested positive and the building will be closed until the next day.

All people who have been in the same places with the patient are isolated and will be virus-tested, it added.

But SBS noted its regular broadcasting will not be affected by the outbreak as its main studios are located at its headquarters in Mokdong, western Seoul.

Moreover, the fantasy romantic comedy "To All The Guys Who Loved Me" on KBS halted the filming Wednesday after an extra was confirmed to have contracted the virus.

KBS said all staff members who were at the filming site have been isolated and tested, while lead actress Hwang Jung-eum has reportedly not come into contact with the patient.

It is considering rescheduling the 16-episode series, which has just two episodes left to air

Two actors, Kim Won-hae and Heo Dong-won, starring in the same theatrical play with the infected walk-on, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to their agencies. But their managers have received negative results, they added.

In addition, actor Oh Man-seok, who appears on JTBC's variety show "Just Comedy," is under self-quarantine after having contacted the patient and is awaiting the test result, according to the broadcaster.

JTBC said it suspended the filming of "Just Comedy" and disinfected the building.

EBS, a South Korean educational television and radio network, has also reported three coronavirus cases in one of its shows, including one producer.

Insiders pointed out that the media community is highly prone to virus infection as a massive number of people gather to produce a show and they participate in multiple programs.

In March, when South Korea was suffering from the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, several TV programs were canceled after a producer of the food variety show "Bob Bless You" tested positive.

"We can't delay our schedules easily because we have to meet the deadline," a crew member of a TV show said. "Each staff member is cautious about a possible virus infection, but we can't restrain their private activities."

South Korea has reported more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases over the past week, most of which are community infections linked to church gatherings.



Virus fears: JTBC dramas stop filming

Two JTBC dramas ― "Private Life" and "Run On" ― studded with triple-A actors have halted production indefinitely after some staffers were tested for COVID-19.

A production associate for "Private Life" said one of the drama's crew had been tested and was awaiting the result, Newsis said Thursday.

The crew member had visited the site of another TV production where a visitor had tested positive for the coronavirus. The crew member did not have direct contact with the person but was tested as a precaution.

The show representative said the drama's filming schedule would be delayed depending on the test result. The show was originally scheduled to air on Sept. 16.

K-pop girl band Girls' Generation member Seohyun plays a main character in the show that revolves around a group of conmen battling a large conglomerate.

A "Run On" production member also was tested for the virus and began self-quarantine after directly contacting a person who possibly had COVID-19.

A show representative said the drama's filming was suspended on Thursday to protect the actors and production crew.

Slated to air before the end of this year, the drama includes successful idol singer-turned-actor Yim Si-wan of ZE:A and romantic comedy queen Shin Sae-kyeong.



CJ ENM to halt filming dramas, shows

Entertainment behemoth CJ ENM ― which owns multiple channels including tvN, OCN and Mnet ― will temporarily halt shooting some dramas and entertainment programs due to a flare-up in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Korea.

"Following negotiations with production subsidiary Studio Dragon, CJ ENM decided to stop filming tvN and OCN's dramas from Aug. 24-31 for the safety of the cast and crew," the company said in a statement, Saturday.

It added, "If there is a change in the air date of ongoing TV series like tvN's 'Flower of Evil' and OCN's 'Missing: The Other Side,' we will let you know. In the case of tvN's 'Stranger' and 'Record of Youth,' the entire filming had already wrapped up, so they are set to go to air as planned."

tvN's variety program "Seoul Bumpkin" will also halt the filming until Aug. 31, and Mnet's music show "M Countdown" will not be broadcast live next week.

"Other entertainment programs are also adjusting production schedules and if not, are being produced under quarantine guidelines," CJ ENM said. "We will continue to pay close attention to the situation and make full preparations for safety."

On Sunday, Korea's daily new virus cases spiked to 397 and the country's total caseload increased to 17,399. The number of daily infections has been in the triple digits since Aug. 14.






source: Yonhap News, The Korea Times 1 2
Tags: current events, health, jtbc, mnet, ocn, tvn
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