Following the recent surge of COVID-19 and its Omicron variant, Fox has become the first network to announce a change in its new year’s programming, as the broadcaster cancels its New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2022.
The network confirmed the cancellation on Tuesday evening, stating, “While we are confident in the health and safety protocols for Fox’s New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2022, the recent velocity of the spread of Omicron cases has made it impossible to produce a live special in Times Square that meets our standards.”
“We will not be moving forward with Fox’s New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2022 in New York,” the statement continued. “The health and safety of our casts and crews has always been, and will continue to be, of the utmost importance.”
The special was to be hosted by former Community co-stars Joel McHale and Ken Jeong, with singer Kelly Osbourne on hand as special correspondent. It was also set to feature live musical performances from the likes of Billy Idol, Imagine Dragons, P!nk, Maroon 5, and more via a partnership with iHeartRadio.
Fox is expected to announce its replacement programming in the coming days. According to Variety, sources claim that the network is planning a stripped-down version of the event, with McHale and Jeong hosting from a studio, similar to last year’s New Year’s Eve festivities. It’s unclear whether the musical acts would remain a part of this stripped-back alternative.
There is no word yet on whether or not other networks will follow Fox’s lead in regards to their New Year’s Eve programming. NBC is currently planning to broadcast a guest-filled special from Miami on December 31 hosted by Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson. Meanwhile, ABC will ring in the new year with its annual Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve special, with events in Times Square, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Puerto Rico.