'American Idol' Live Shows up in the Air Following Coronavirus Concerns

American Idol is still a few weeks away from working on live episodes, but its future is reportedly uncertain due to the coronavirus outbreak. Pre-taped episodes will continue to air until the end of March, giving ABC and producers Fremantle enough time to make a decision. Fremantle has already paused production on the game shows Family Feud and The Price Is Right, as well as the NBC competition series America's Got Talent.

Idol's live shows are not scheduled to start until April, but it could still be impacted by the coronavirus, reports Deadline. Fremantle will make a decision closer to the start date. Idol Season 18 kicked off Feb. 16 on ABC, with the fifth and final auditions episode to air on Sunday night. On Monday, ABC will air the first of four pre-taped episodes filmed in Hollywood. The last Hollywood episode airs on Sunday, March 29.

Aside from the coronavirus fears, judge Katy Perry announced she is six months pregnant earlier this month. The "Never Worn White" singer spent last week in Australia to perform at a benefit concert for brushfire victims. Sources told The Daily Mail Australia she self-quarantined herself at her hotel and canceled interviews with local press outlets.

This is Idol's third season on ABC, and all have featured Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie as judges. Just earlier this week, Bryan was hyping the new season as his favorite.

"The best part of the new season is we're seeing more songwriters come out with better songs," Bryan told ABC Audio. "Songwriters and people that think that they don't fit the American Idol criteria, they're coming out."

Bryan pointed out that last season saw a diverse crowd of artists make the top 10. He hoped to see that continue into the new season.

"Last year with our contestants, you look at our Top 10 –– it was diverse," the country star said. "It was across the board. And kids at home can go, 'You know what? If that guy can stand up there and go this far in American Idol, [I can too]. I thought American Idol was only for pop stars and country stars.'"

In another interview with PEOPLE, Bryan reminded viewers that Idol is the perfect show to watch with your family. That could make it perfect entertainment for families self-quarantining during the outbreak.

"You're able to watch good TV that you can sit down and watch with your family," Bryan told the magazine. "You can cry, you can cheer these kids on. There's some kids from backgrounds where you just … pull for them. It's the microcosm of life, we get to see it walk in and you get to see what America's all about. They get to stand in front of us and sing. And year three, I'm enjoying it now more than ever. I feel like, with the show, it seems like we're catching a good stride, and I'm just excited to be a part of it."


American Idol airs on ABC Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. ET starting this week.

Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless