TV Production During COVID-19

“Dramatify’s unique multi-camera live & studio scripts for TV production.” by Dramatify is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Kayla Katounas

Throughout the spread of COVID-19, people have started watching lots of TV to pass all of the time spent inside. But soon enough, the last episodes left of shows were aired, and nothing new was being filmed because of COVID-19. After postponing over and over again, several shows have gone back into production. With the promise of shows, such as Stranger Things, Riverdale, and Outer Banks, coming back soon, film and TV production companies have to face the new challenges that come along with the pandemic.

Netflix’s Stranger Things originally started production for its fourth season back in March, as shown in a YouTube video posted March 3 of this year, titled “Stranger Things 4 | The Table Read”. Netflix suspended filming ten days later on March 13. Recently, a tweet from the Stranger Things Twitter account confirmed that the show was back in production. The caption read “meanwhile in the upside down…”, along with a photo of a clapboard in front of a clock. Since then, a few pictures of the cast together have emerged, further confirming this information.

Netflix has also resumed production on Outer Banks, whose first season came out in April. While the show’s creators haven’t mentioned much aside from announcing that they have resumed filming, the show’s cast has posted about filming, often on their Instagrams. Madison Bailey, who plays Kiara on the show, posted a video of her getting a COVID-19 test on October 12. Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline, who play John B and Sarah, also stated that the cast is required to get tested multiple times a week.

The CW’s mega-popular show Riverdale has also resumed filming in Vancouver, Canada. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the show’s creator, explained that the cast had quarantined in Vancouver for two weeks before beginning production on their fifth season. The cast will not be allowed to leave their quarantine bubble until Christmas. In an interview with Nylon Magazine published on September 2, 2020, Riverdale star Lili Reinhart said “I genuinely feel like a prisoner, going back to work, because I cannot leave Canada. That doesn’t feel good. You can’t go home for Thanksgiving, can’t visit your family. No one can come visit you unless they quarantine for two weeks.”

It was surprising for many to find out that the Bachelorette was also resuming filming because it is unscripted, thus making it more unpredictable, harder to control, and harder to remain safe. Another interesting show resuming filming is Grey’s Anatomy. The medical drama finished their 16th season four episodes early as production was shut down. Now the show has begun filming their 17th season, which will be centered around the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Overall, shows are taking a lot of precautions to be able to film in order to avoid an outbreak of COVID-19. Because the actors are not wearing masks while on camera, the shows are being extra careful while working. It will be interesting to see if anything happens throughout the rest of the production process.