NEW YORK — Late-night television, which has long relied on studio audiences to energize hosts and cue viewers, is doing away with the practice for some of its most important shows in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

NBC, CBS, TBS, HBO and Comedy Central announced that they will now shoot their New York-based late-night programs without an audience. Among the shows affected are some of the late-night world’s most prominent: “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,"“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”

Bee’s program, a weekly show, will go audience-free beginning Wednesday; the remaining programs will start the practice next week.

“The safety of our guests and employees is our top priority,” NBC said in a statement, which in addition to Fallon will also “suspend live audiences” for “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” “The company is hoping to do its part to help to decrease the rate of transmission in our communities,” it added.

Bravo also said that “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” its long-running pop-culture late-night show, would eliminate live audiences beginning with its tapings next week.

The news comes on the heels of “The View” and other daytime programs also shooting in an empty theater as officials seek to contain the spreading virus. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 48 reported cases of coronavirus in New York City.

New York’s late-night theaters are large if not enormous. The Ed Sullivan Theater, where Colbert shoots, holds about 500 people.

The development puts late-night into new territory. Past events have caused some changes – some New York-taped shows went to an empty studio after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 — but generally have not attempted the feat for an extended period. The networks did not give a time-table for the return or how the shows might change as a result.

Late-night experts, however, have said that audiences form a key part of a show’s energy, and that doing more than a few episodes without live audiences could require a different kind of writing and performing.

It also remains to be seen what effect the changes have on ratings. “Colbert” has been handily winning the battle this year. Last week it garnered an average of 3.26 million total viewers compared to Fallon’s two million.

Also on Wednesday, organizers of the movie-theater convention CinemaCon said they were canceling this year’s event. The four-day gathering, held in Las Vegas the last week of March, serves as a forum for studios to promote their upcoming releases to theater owners. Organizers had previously said they intended to go forward with the show as they looked to keep business flourishing despite the virus.