'General Hospital' Will Only Air New Episodes 4 Days Each Week Due to Coronavirus Production Shutdown

The coronavirus outbreak has thrown a serious wrench in the entertainment industry. On Tuesday, the impact it'll have on the longest-running American soap opera, General Hospital, was revealed.

Having previously announced production was already shutting down amid the pandemic, ABC shared it's plan to stretch out the previously-recorded episodes that they have. In order to keep the series going for as long as it can with an uncertainty of when production will resume, General Hospital will only air four new episodes per week. This change of schedule will run through May 22. Each Friday will see a re-run air under the label of "Flashback Friday" with each episode featuring a special introduction from a cast member.

The move is to stretch the last batch of taped episodes for as long as they can. If May 23 comes around and production has not resumed yet, which appears to likely be the case with President Donald Trump extending the social distancing guidelines through April, the series will then air nothing but re-runs until things resume.

General Hospital isn't the only soap opera to be affected by the coronavirus. Days of our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless have all had production shut down. Days of our Lives appears to be the best equipped to make it through the pandemic without needing to adjust their schedule. The series has enough episodes recorded that should last into October. The other two shows have enough for a month to a month and a half.

ABC has also felt the impact with its primetime shows, as well. American Idol reportedly has shut down any studio shows moving forward as production will attempt to figure out what to do with the live shows, which had already been pushed off. The last pre-recorded episode of the singing competition will air next Sunday with the completion of the Hawaii Showcase.

Likewise, The Bachelorette is already off to a tough start. The upcoming season featuring Claire Crawley is currently on hold and will be eliminating foreign travel during filming.

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Other ABC shows impacted include Grey's Anatomy, which decided to halt production and push up its finale to April 9 after 21 episodes instead of completing the 16th season.

Photo Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin