Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest on Live with Kelly and Ryan

COVID-19 has heavily changed up the dynamics of studio-based TV shows, as many have now instituted stringent rules in order to keep people safe. Across the television landscape, these safety measures range from having virtual audiences to keeping reality competition judges spaced eight feet apart. Live with Kelly and Ryan is one of the many shows that is now getting back to work following the months-long industry shutdown. Upon its return, the creatives behind the scenes found a cool visual effect that tricks audiences, and Ryan Seacrest admits that he was surprised by the move.

In the actual studio, Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa are seated eight feet apart when filming Live. However, the show implemented a split-screen graphic effect that gives the illusion that the two are sitting closer together than they actually are. Despite being one of the creative forces behind the talk show, Seacrest had to admit that even he was unaware of how he and Ripa were being presented on screen:

I was completely surprised and confused when I saw that. I had no idea. I thought we were going to be seated as we are and portrayed on screen as eight feet apart. …

Seacrest also explained to The Hollywood Reporter that he had to get used to being eight feet apart from Ripa. And while he has somewhat gotten used to this “new normal,” there are still times in which it can make for hilariously awkward situations:

The new normal in our own lives is when we speak with someone in person, they're six or seven or eight feet away. Off air we've been more cognizant of that in real life, so on air it doesn't seem so abnormal — although there are times where I think to myself, I can't hear what she just said, and she probably didn't hear what I just said [laughs]. But we make the best of it.

Making TV in the age of COVID-19 certainly is a feat, to say the least, yet it’s good to see that hosts and crews are charging through the situation with positivity. And ultimately, these changes will only benefit those involved with the productions.

It’s been especially interesting to see audience-driven shows move forward without them. The Price is Right, for example, is experiencing the lack of an audience for the first time in its nearly 50-year existence. Still, the producers believed that it was the correct call in order to keep host Drew Carey, the crew and the contestants safe.

Saturday Night Live has also put COVID safety measures in place, though the show is continuing with a (paid) live audience. With this, show creator Lorne Michaels recently explained that an audience is crucial when it comes to comedic timing.

Television is going to look a lot different for a while but, in the meantime, as we watch our favorite shows, we can take comfort in knowing that they’re being produced with safety in mind.

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