NBC has pulled an episode of its medical drama New Amsterdam that deals with a fictional flu pandemic.
The installment, originally titled simply “Pandemic” but later changed to “Our Doors Are Always Open,” was scheduled to air April 7. Instead, then network will air reruns of New Amsterdam on March 31 and April 7 before a season finale on April 14 — the show’s last produced episode before it shut down production in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The real-life pandemic is also the reason behind shelving “Our Doors Are Always Open.” “I am a writer of fiction. But if I may say, the world needs a lot less fiction right now, and a lot more facts,” series creator David Schulner wrote in an essay about the episode. “New Amsterdam has an episode that was written some time ago that focuses on a flu epidemic in New York City,” NBC said Wednesday in a statement. “Being sensitive to the current climate, the producers, network and studio have decided that the episode will not air on NBC on April 7 as previously scheduled.”
Schulner said actor Daniel Dae Kim, whose character was to be introduced in the pandemic episode, tested positive for the coronavirus after the show shut down. One of the show’s writers is also ill, he noted.”We shot a fictional pandemic episode right before a real pandemic hit. People are dying in real life. Do we really want to watch fake people die too?” Schulner wrote. “Some would say yes. It’s not for nothing Contagion and Outbreak are at the top of the iTunes chart. The reason we engage with fiction is to watch our heroes battle the monsters we can’t and to learn from their struggle. There’s hope in that. Hope is the reason fiction exists. And yet … “I know most, if not all of us want this episode to air,” Schulner added. “We poured our hearts and souls into it. And it will air. Just not now.”
New Amsterdam was one of hundreds of TV productions that shut down in response to the coronavirus outbreak, leaving it short of its full complement of episodes for the season. The series’ future on NBC is secure, however, as the network gave it a three-season renewal in January that will take the show through the 2022-23 season.
Deadline first reported the news and posted Schulner’s essay.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
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