Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NBC's America's Got Talent is pressing on with production.
Given the severity of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, the reality juggernaut is making some big changes to the way the show is produced.
With only six episodes of America's Got Talent Season 15 in the can, it makes sense that NBC wants the show to enter production sooner rather than later.
The show was shut down back in March, much like the rest of the TV industry.
Now, Deadline is reporting that the series will look considerably different when post-shutdown episodes hit the air.
Instead of shooting in a Hollywood auditorium, the competition series is moving to the great outdoors with a new filming location in Simi Valley.
The new set is designed to look like a drive-in movie theater, and will keep AGT overlord Simon Cowell, and judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and newcomer Sofia Vergara a safe distance away from each other.
This will allow the show to maintain social distancing while giving the judges a platform to critique the performances of the night.
“Wait until you see the vehicles the judges arrive in,” the show’s executive producers gush to Deadline of the decision.
Indeed, AGT is vowing to keep the show on the air, and that's a good thing, especially if they will be able to do so safely.
TV shows like The Voice and America's Got Talent opted for remotely-produced live episodes, and they did not have the same level of excitement.
One of the big changes will probably benefit the flow of the season. Instead of having four Judge Cuts episodes, we will be getting just one.
Coming off the auditions, the Judge Cuts are typically controversial episodes, so this is a good decision.
The network has also scheduled a best-of special (July 21) and an anniversary celebration (Aug. 4) to accommodate the shift in production.
The live shows will find 44 acts performing across four weeks and are slated to begin on Aug. 11.
Producers are hoping to return to the Dolby Theatre, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
Cowell is optimistic about the changes and what they mean for the future of the series.
“I personally now would stick to this new way we’ve done it not just for the present but for the future,” he tells Deadline.
“I think it is a better show this year than it has been on previous years.”
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.