CBS’ The Bold And The Beautiful today became the first U.S. broadcast series to return to production on stage following strict COVID-19 safety protocols.
“B&B filmed with cast and crew today and it was a successful first day back at work,” a rep for the series, shot at Television City Studios by Bell-Phillip Television, said in a statement to Deadline.
But, in what may be indicative of the “new normal” of a stop-and-go production during a pre-vaccine coronavirus pandemic, the show will go on a brief hiatus. It is scheduled to return to production next Tuesday, June 23.
“We have paused very briefly to modify our testing protocol to better accommodate the large volume of testing needed,” the B&B rep said. “Safety remains our top priority as we continue to move forward with the production of the show.”
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The soap would not specify what modifications to the testing protocols will be made, but I have been hearing anecdotally that the COVID-19 guidelines jointly put out by the Hollywood guilds and unions last week require testing that is so rigorous, they are very hard to implement by studios.
B&B follows protocols set by LA County, the City of Los Angeles and Television City’s owner Hackman Capital Partners, and its return to production became possible after the producers reached agreements with the Hollywood guilds.
Regular testing has been a key part of the show’s new protocols. The cast and the crew were tested for the coronavirus Monday, when B&B started pre-production. The B&B guidelines also involve everyone working shorter days with staggered call times and smaller amount of cast on set at one time. To accommodate that, some of the scripts that had been already in the can were reworked.
Additionally, The Bold and the Beautiful has hired a COVID-19 coordinator who will is on set at all times, insuring that the production follows the safety guidelines. I hear all cast and crew members are required to wear masks at all times except for actors when they are filming a scene.
There is no airdate set yet. Before the production pause, first reported by Variety, the hope had been for the half-hour soap to return to originals in early-to-mid July.
The Bold and the Beautiful is a Bell-Phillip Television production. Bradley Bell is the executive producer.