The recent uptick in COVID-19 infections has led to cancellations and restrictions of all sorts, including television productions like the most recent episode of Saturday Night Live.
Now, it appears another TV event, a planned New Year’s Eve special to be broadcast on Fox, has officially been called off.
According to Breitbart, Toast & Roast 2022 was canceled amid renewed concerns about rising COVID-19 case rates.
“Impossible to produce a live special”
The program had been slated to feature actors Ken Jeong and Joel McHale, who co-starred on the sitcom Community, and musical performances by Imagine Dragons, Maroon 5, Billy Idol, Pink, and Trace Adkins. A statement released on Tuesday confirmed that those plans had been changed, though there was no clear indication of what will air in the designated time slot.
“Replacement programming for New Year’s Eve on FOX will be announced in the coming days,” the corporate statement explained.
Although the network expressed confidence in its own precautions, the prevalence of the omicron variant “has made it impossible to produce a live special in Times Square that meets our standards.”
As a result, Fox executives determined that the event would be scrapped, asserting that the “health and safety of our casts and crews has always been, and will continue to be, of the utmost importance.”
“This is the right thing to do”
At least one of the stars set to be involved in the Fox broadcast applauded the decision.
“Totally agree,” Jeong tweeted in reference to the news. “Stay safe.”
Of course, the cancellation is hardly an anomaly as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Playwright Andrew Lloyd Webber, for example, announced that London performances of Cinderella would be postponed until next year as infections continue to spread across England.
“I am absolutely devastated that Cinderella has to temporarily close,” Webber tweeted. “My life has been devoted to musical theatre. Once again, this wretched virus has put paid to the joy of entertaining audiences, something that I hold so dear.”
As with the Fox statement, the renowned playwright came to the regrettable conclusion that “this is the right thing to do, not just for the safety of our cast, musicians and backstage crew, but for the quality of the show we give our audiences who travel long distances and make significant investments to come and see us.”