By Lynda Hirsch

March 14, 2020 4 min read

The coronavirus, now declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, is affecting daytime TV. Since closed-in rooms are a no-no, many shows are suspending their audiences. Wendy Williams, who really relies on audience feedback, is going without an audience. "Live with Kelly and Ryan," "Good Morning America," "The View," "Rachael Ray" and "Dr. Phil" will tape but will not have an audience. For now, "Ellen" will have an audience but will screen the audience — asking if they traveled to China, Italy, South Korea or Hong Kong. Of course, someone who has had a ticket for months would not tell a white lie to be in the audience.

"Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" will not have audiences. Shows like "Let's Make a Deal" and "The Price Is Right" are audience-driven. Many upfronts, where advertisers get to see the networks coming season, are being postponed. A&E, Disney, BBC News are canceling or postponing. A few are considering digital presentations.

What about the soap operas? "Days of our Lives" is taped months ahead, so they could cancel a few tapings and be OK. For now, "General Hospital," "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "The Young and the Restless" are sticking to their taping schedules.

Last week, Roscoe Born died at 69. He starred on soaps such as "Ryan's Hope," "One Life to Live," "The Young and the Restless" and "Santa Barbara." Former castmates Greg Rikaart, Marg Helgenberger, Melissa Archer and Andrea Evans posted their sorrow on social media. Each one called him a wonderful actor, kind and caring. Born did not do interviews. Somehow, I snagged him for one. He was intelligent and talked about his love of language and acting.

Yesterday, his family disclosed the cause of his death — suicide. "Roscoe has long struggled with bipolar disorder, a shadow that he succumbed to when he took his own life on Tuesday March 3, 2020," read the family's statement, which was posted on Facebook. "We are grateful for the outpouring of kind words and memories. We only wish that Roscoe could have seen how much people still carry his daytime villains in their hearts. May his death remind us of the importance of opening up conversations around mental illness. May those who need help seek it. May those who seek help receive it. And may it serve them."

Help is out there. Maurice Benard (Sonny, "General Hospital") often talks about his bipolar issues — and how medication has saved his life. I have the same story. Depression is cruel and cunning. It is a siren song. Lucky for me, I have been on the right protocol for years. For some reason, depressives often go off their meds. They feel good. So, they do not think they need them. Wrong. They feel good because they are on the right medication. No, they are not happy pills. Anyone who puts up with me will vouch for that. But thanks to better living from chemicals, I am the me I want to be. Sadly, Born and so many others do not understand this. I call depression diabetes in the brain and the right meds are akin to insulin. Would a diabetic stop his insulin? Not if he wants to live.

To find out more about Lynda Hirsch and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: Pexels at Pixabay

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