Late-night TV shows succumbed to Hurricane Sandy on Monday, joining scores of primetime series that shut down Monday shooting on the east coast because, duh, it’s TV, not the race to cure cancer, and Sandy, meanwhile, is shaping up as one of the worst storms on record.
Comedy Central announced Monday afternoon it had pulled the plug on its two faux newscasts, “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.”
ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel’s first night of a planned November sweep week the Brooklyn Academy of Music was also declared a washout.
Meanwhile, CBS’s Dave Letterman sent his audience home, as did NBC’s Jimmy Fallon. Fallon tweeted the decision was made “just to be safe” — a couple hours after he tweeted an offer to buy free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for anyone who’d ignore urgent warnings of safety and government officials — that would be Gov. Andrew Cuomo and President Obama, both of whom over the weekend declared a state of emergency in New York — and attend his show taping.
“Sandy be damned, PAUL BANKS plays “Young Again” on Letterman tonight come hell AND high water. Hope everyone has electricity to watch!” Matador Records tweeted ecstatically Monday afternoon. Joining Banks on the ship of fools: Denzel Washington.
“Studio audience in place and ready for tonight’s all-new #Sandy show with Denzel Washington & Paul Banks,” the “Late Show” Twitter account tweeted Monday afternpon as the show was getting ready to tape, including a photo of an empty Ed Sullivan Theater.
Letterman’s Tuesday show also will be taped without an audience, CBS told The TV Column.
“Though it pains us to do it, JKL from #Brooklyn tonight is cancelled. I’m disappointed too, but we want you to be safe,” Jimmy Kimmel tweeted early Monday afternoon.
Ironically, Kimmel’s late night show is based in Hollywood, where on Monday it was 81 degrees Fahrenheit, sunny, with winds at 6 mph and zero percent chance of rain, according to The Weather Channel.
But Kimmel and his crew had traveled to the East Coast, for the first time in nearly 10 seasons on the air, to do a week of shows from Brooklyn, because it’s his hometown and it’s the November sweep.
“I braved the weather to be here. And I will not be stopped,” Kimmel told Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahon on their ABC daytime talker just a couple hours before the plug was pulled.
Kimmel said his show was “not like these Broadway shows where they — “
“ — close down everything?” Kelly said, finishing his sentence.
“They close down! What’s going to happen to midtown? Nothing,” Kimmel scoffed.
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” was to have originated from the Brookly Academy of Music. Staff and crew had flown in to town ahead of the storm, and the producers lined up some back-up generators in case the area had a power failure.
The trip had been in the works since May, when ABC announced it would be JKL’s first road trip since 2006 when the show was broadcast from the GEM Theater in Detroit and recorded one of Kimmel’s highest rated weeks ever.
And, of course, the November sweep is the last such ratings derby before Kimmel’s show takes over the 11:35 p.m. timeslot in January, where he’ll swim with big boys David Letterman and Jay Leno.
In the wake of Kimmel’s cancellation, ABC News announced Monday afternoon it would expand “Nightline” to one hour Monday night, absorbing a chunk of Kimmel’s timeslot.
“Nightline” will also broadcast a special West Coast edition of the program live at 11:35 p.m. PT, which will air live at 2:35 a.m. ET.
Had Kimmel stayed home, of course, he’d have aired Monday night, as will Jay Leno, who does his NBC show from Burbank, and Craig Ferguson, whose CBS late night show comes to you from Hollywood.
Broadcast networks’ primetime plans for the first Monday of the November sweep also capsized in the storm.
CBS’s comedy block and “Hawaii Five-O” will be swapped out in favor of repeats and a Hurricane Sandy special at 10.
CW is withholding original episosdes of “90210” and “Gossip Girl” in favor of repeat episodes.
Fox — well, Fox was still recovering from the World Series, which came and went in four games, and planned to air a repeat “The X Factor” episode Monday night. In other What is Fox Thinking news, the network has decided that instead of starting the live “X” episodes on Thursday night, it’ll move that schedule up a night and start the episodes on Halloween.
At presstime, ABC and NBC were both sticking with original episodes of their competition series — “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Voice,” respectively — and the dramas that followed: “Castle” and “Revolution,” respectively.
That means NBC is the only network sticking with an all-original primetime lineup in the face of Sandy. NBC, to the surprise of everyone, including NBC, is in first place this TV season to date — expect the network to do all it can to make sure it stays there, and, wins the November sweep.
And hours before the New York-based late night shows threw in the towel, a gaggle of TV series shot on the east coast decided a day or two’s shooting wasn’t worth potential loss of life.
Impacted primetime series include ABC’s “666 Park Avenue”; CBS’s “Person of Interest,” “The Good Wife,” “Blue Bloods” “Elementary, and midseason “Golden Boy”; and Fox’s new Kevin Bacon serial killer thriller “The Following”; trade Web site Deadline reported Sunday.
Also shuttered for the storm: NBC series “30 Rock,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Smash,” midseason series “Do No Harm” and “Infamous,” and “Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives” pilot; CW’s “Gossip Girl,” and midseason “The Carrie Diaries”; and Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and “The Big C.”