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Entertainment: 'Saturday Night Live' Scraps Live Audience Due to Spike in Omicron Variant

The Latest: Local transmission of virus variant in Scotland

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  'Saturday Night Live' Scraps Live Audience Due to Spike in Omicron Variant © YouTube / NBC

Saturday Night Live will close out its 47th season without a live audience due to COVID-19.

The iconic NBC sketch comedy show made the announcement just hours before getting the show on the air, citing "the recent spike in the Omicron variant." What's more, the show "will have limited cast and crew." Paul Rudd is slated to make his fifth guest hosting appearance alongside musical guest Charli XCX.

The official announcement, posted on SNL's social media accounts, didn't divulge details on what exactly "limited cast and crew" means, but the New York Post is reporting, citing a set insider, that "four actors" contracted the virus and "three others" called out because they're "fearful" about coming to the midtown Manhattan set.

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While the Omicron variant's been wreaking havoc across the nation, New York in particular has seen a dramatic increase in cases. The Big Apple on Friday had the highest single-day total (21,027) of new COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. SNL adds that it "continues to follow all government safety guidelines in addition to a rigorous testing protocol."

SNL is hardly the only show in town being affected by COVID-19. The rising cases in New York has also triggered the closure of several Broadway plays and cutting short the Radio City Rockettes' season.

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The Ghostbusters: Afterlife star and Crash singer appeared just days ago alongside cast member Ego Nwodim in a promo for the upcoming show. Rudd is joining the so-called "Five-Timers Club" because he's guest hosting for the fifth time.

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Rudd will be the show's 21st guest host to accomplish the feat. Some of the most recent celebs who have reached the "Five-Timers Club" includes Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson, Melissa McCarthy, Dwayne Johnson, Jonah Hill, Will Ferrell and, now, Rudd.

But without a live audience.

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Unless we radically rethink pandemic protocols, there will be a lot of absences in a lot of places.Ben: On Monday, the CDC released new COVID guidelines advising that people who have tested positive need to isolate for only five days, down from ten, and that they can return to the general population if they’re feeling better at that point — no negative test needed. That last point especially has drawn a lot of criticism.

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