Wednesday's episode of The View featured no live studio audience due to fears over the Coronavirus spread. The lack of laughter and clapping was jarring to fans watching at home, who took to social media in confusion.
On Wednesday, Whoopi Goldberg said her warm "welcome to The View" to a line of empty chairs, as the studio was empty. The co-hosts still sat on their stage as usual, but they spoke for the benefit of the camera alone. This change to format took quite a bit of getting used to.
Many fans were amused by the transition, and by how the co-hosts dealt with it. They thought it was fun to see the usual format shaken up, and some even felt like it streamlined the discussions quite a bit.
Whoopi Goldberg repeating “welcome to The View” to empty audience chairs is both peak apocalypse horror and high camp. pic.twitter.com/VZroTYVT0N— Joey Nolfi (@joeynolfi) March 11, 2020
"Meghan McCain has never been happier on the job. No studio audience clapping for her co-hosts," one fan quipped.
"[Laughing my a— off] is the audience empty because of coronavirus or because [Elisabeth] Hasselbeck is here?" joked another.
Others were more put off by the lack of audience, or felt its absence more immediately. Some called the phenomenon "apocalyptic" and eerie, saying that it distracted them from the discussions because it was a constant reminder of the seriousness of the Coronavirus. Some even wondered if there was any point in continuing with the show without the energy of a live audience to play off of.
"The Audience is the most important co-host of [The View]," one person tweeted.
"In a surreal scene, The View begins its first broadcast with no audience in the stands due to the coronavirus. 'The echo is real,'" observed another.
On Tuesday, Walt Disney Television announced that several shows it produced would go on without live studio audiences, including The View, Live With Kelly and Ryan and The Tamron Hill Show. A Spokesperson for the company told TV Line that it was specific to productions in New York City, where several cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed and more spread is expected.
"Given the current developing situation in New York City, we have made the decision to suspend live audiences from attending our news broadcasts and talk shows," the spokesperson said.
While the absence of audiences may be odd, some fans are grateful that the show will go on in some capacity, at least. The View airs on week days at 11 a.m. ET on ABC.