TV networks are making changes at blitz speed, to keep up with the coronavirus situation.
Now ABC has added a primetime special and a latenight emphasis … CBS’ country-music awards have been delayed until September … and PBS has said there will be “Baseball” (the Ken Burns series, shown here) when there’s no actual baseball being played.
The changes, in chronological order of impact:
RIGHT NOW: Baseball fans were stranded when the major and minor leagues pushed back Opening Day by at least two weeks, also suspending spring training. Now PBS will fill some of the gap by making “Baseball” – Burns’ sprawling documentary series – available online.
That’s at www.pbs.org. Earlier, the same thing was announced for “Influenza 1918,” viewing the epidemic that killed 600,000 Americans. It’s an “American Experience” documentary … as is “The Polio Crusade,” which will rerun at 9 p.m. March 31.
MONDAY, March 16: ABC has scheduled a special – “Pandemic: What You Need to Know” – for 10 p.m., replacing a “Good Doctor” episode.
David Muir will anchor and Dr. Jennifer Ashton will be featured – the same combination that had a two-hour special on March 6. This hour will include a look at the Roche Diagnostics lab, which received Food and Drug Administration approval to make a faster coronavirus test.
TUESDAY, March 17: For a four-night stretch, ABC’s “Nightline” will move up to the 11:35 p.m. slot, focusing on the virus. That temporarily nudges Jimmy Kimmel’s show to 12:35 a.m.; earlier, it was announced that Kimmel will have reruns for the next two weeks.
APRIL 5: This was supposed to be when the ACM Awards – a big event for ratings and for country-music fans – airs from Las Vegas. Now that’s been pushed back to September, with the date and the venue pending.
PREVIOUS NEWS: Earlier shifts focused on this Thursday, March 19.
That’s when PBS will have a coronavirus special, anchored by Judy Woodruff. It’s also when CBS starts filling the gaps during two weeks, due to the cancellation of the college basketball tournament.
Mostly, the regular CBS shows will have reruns; two shows, however, have already finished for the season. To fill the gaps, CBS will have double “Young Sheldon” reruns at 8 and 8:30 p.m.; at 9:30, it will transplant reruns of “Bob (Hearts) Abishola” on March 19 and “The Neighborhood” on March 26.
The regular Friday shows – “MacGyver,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “Blue Bloods” – will have reruns on March 20, but the first two will have new episodes on March 27.