Second show shut down over virus fears
Production on the Nine Network quiz show Million Dollar Hot Seat has been shut down as the fallout continues from the Masked Singer coronavirus outbreak.
The Herald Sun reports that production on the Eddie McGuire-hosted game show was halted on Sunday in the wake of the shock news that seven dancers on The Masked Singer had tested positive for coronavirus.
Both shows film at separate studios in Melbourne's Docklands, but share some facilities. Melbourne is weeks into a strict stage 4 lockdown after coronavirus cases in the city had spiralled out of control.
"There were some shared facilities but the Victorian Government has put a stop to that now,'' a Channel 9 spokesman told the Herald Sun.
The second TV show shutdown comes as The Masked Singer's cast and crew today face a nervous wait for the results of their COVID tests. Stars including the show's host Osher Gunsberg and judges singer Dannii Minogue, radio host Jackie O and comedians Dave Hughes and Urzila Carlson have all been forced into isolation as they await the results of their tests.
Appearing on The Project from self-isolation yesterday, Gunsberg revealed the dramatic moment a dancer came forward during filming to report they were feeling unwell, sending the show into shutdown just as they were about to film their grand final.
"The pyrotechnics were loaded, everyone was in costume and we were ready to go," Gunsberg said.
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It was a dancer who first fell ill and spread COVID-19 to other co-workers, with Gunsberg praising the dancer for speaking up.
"This person was so brave … (they) put their hand up and said, 'Hang on, guys, I'm not feeling so great.' They were brave enough to pull the emergency brake on the freight train.
"We hit stop and everyone shut down.
"Nothing is as important as everyone's safety. I hope we can set that as an example: if you're not feeling great, it's not worth it," he said.
WHY THEY WERE STILL FILMING
The Victorian Premier and Chief Health Officer yesterday defended the decision to allow The Masked Singer to film in Melbourne despite stage 4 restrictions being in place.
According to the Directions of Victoria's Chief Health Officer, television broadcasting is a permitted industry, hence why the show was allowed to continue shooting in the Docklands.
The show had a COVID-safe plan in place which was approved by authorities.
"I don't think any particular outbreak that occurs in an industry necessarily means that anything has gone wrong," Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said today.
"It does relate to the fact that anyone that comes in with the virus can spread it to others in a workplace.
"The determination has been made around broad sectors that are considered essential and television is one of those."
But some on social media have questioned the "nonsensical" decision to keep filming in a city that has resorted to some of the world's toughest restrictions in a bid to control their virus outbreak:
Seven cases linked to the Masked Singer. Struggling to see how a celebrity singing contest was considered an essential service. People's loved ones are dying alone. We're all making huge sacrifices. Staggering this show was allowed to continue filming during stage four lockdown.— Jill Stark (@jillastark) August 22, 2020
Hundreds of cases of coronavirus in Melbourne a day and yet The Masked Singer was essential business?— Matt Smith 🎙️ (@nightlightguy) August 23, 2020
So the masked singer gets 7 cases of covid and it’s shot in Melbourne. Why are they still allowed too film? But here’s me and a million other Victorians being forced to sit home and not earn money.— Rob (@Cpcc15) August 22, 2020
Just imagine not being able to bury a loved one, say goodbye to a dying relative, seeing your new born baby in an ICU and then hearing that #MaskedSingerAU was able to continue filming and now has set us back with a COVID outbreak. WTAF!! @DanielAndrewsMP @DHughesy— captain kirk (@captain78140963) August 23, 2020
The outbreak at #MaskedSingerAU will likely be frustrating for so many of us who are missing out on so much and hoping to get through this stage 4 so we can get small freedoms back. Allowing a show like that to keep going so a network can make money is...nonsensical— Laura Jensen (@LauraJcookies) August 23, 2020
Originally published as Second show shut down over virus fears