While Hollywood’s movie and television production has halted in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic began to escalate in the U.S., it was only a matter of time before someone attempted a coronavirus-themed and socially distanced TV episode. The CBS legal drama “All Rise” is giving it a shot, announcing Monday that it plans to return to the air May 4 with an episode set during the outbreak and produced under social distancing guidelines.
The show’s cast and crew will use video conferencing tools like FaceTime, Zoom and WebEx to film the episode, which will explore how the criminal justice system is adapting to conducting court proceedings remotely. According to CBS, the episode will follow the characters holding a virtual trial and coping with working from home, with one taking a second job as a food delivery driver.
“It’s a unique chance for our ‘All Rise’ family to band together — in our different homes, even cities — to tell a story about resilience, justice, and the power of community,” executive producer Greg Spottiswood said in a statement.
Producers will use footage shot from the actors’ homes and add visual effects to create the backgrounds. A solo cinematographer working from a vehicle “will capture exterior footage that reflects the desolate environment that currently exists on the streets and in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles,” CBS said, promising the production will adhere to social distancing recommendations.
“All Rise” is the first scripted TV show to announce it’s working on an episode produced remotely. Elsewhere on TV, most of the major late-night shows have returned, with hosts filming from their homes, interviewing guests through video conference ― and giving audiences a glimpse of celebrities’ social distancing setups, sometimes with technical difficulties.