Monday night's episode of Bull ended up being a little topical, given ongoing concerns about coronavirus. The legal drama focused on a defendant, Dr. Natalie Reznick (Brooke Bloom), an anthrax expert accused of orchestrating a series of attacks against New York City. It was so timely, in fact, that TV Line pointed out that eponymous star Michael Weatherly appeared before the episode to address the situation to the audience directly.
"Tonight's episode deals with a citywide panic, not unlike the fears and concerns people are experiencing all over the world at this moment," Weatherly said, clearly referring to the coronavirus outbreak. "Before we start, we wanted to remind you this is a work of fiction. It was written and filmed months ago. And its only purpose is to entertain you."
Despite being accused of the heinous act, Dr. Jason Bull (whose character just became a father last month) ended up proving that the city was caught up in a panic, proving his client's innocence in the process. While Weatherly had gone out of his way to soothe the audience's nerves, the timing of the episode is quite the coincidence.
As Weatherly pointed out, the episode was filmed months earlier, however, a number of productions have been temporarily suspended or otherwise altered to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Major projects in the works from Netflix to Apple TV+ to Disney are all currently on hold, which will likely affect their pending release dates.
It's also having an impact on the world of talk shows, which often rely on studio audiences during their tapings. On Friday, Ellen Degeneres announced that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be going on hiatus. Wendy Williams also announced her show would be hitting the pause button on new episodes as well. The View, meanwhile, is making do with a brand-new "big a- desk," at least for now.
While a number of small-screen delays have arisen in the past several days, none seemed to hit quite as hard as Grey's Anatomy, which announced it would suspend production after the most recent episode aired on Thursday. Showrunner Krista Vernoff delivered the news in a memo to the cast and crew.
"Out of an abundance of caution, production is postponed on Grey's Anatomy effective immediately," read the memo, in part. "We are going home now for at least two weeks and waiting to see how the coronavirus situation evolves."
Bull airs Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.