Tonight's The Conners episode will incorporate live ABC News coverage of the New Hampshire primary into its storyline for two live tapings: one for East Coast/Midwest and one for the West Coast. "Believe me, they are terrified," says showrunner Bruce Helford, who oversaw several live shows as co-creator and showrunner of The Drew Carey Show. The Conners stars are going live for the second time this week after offering live commentary during an Oscars ad break. Helford tells The Hollywood Reporter "the level of difficulty here is about a 12" due to the political nature of tonight's broadcast. To prepare for tonight, the cast spend extra time in rehearsals. The show also added 12 cameras to the soundstage instead of the usual four. "Right now, the show is running probably about two minutes short," says Helford. "That allows for audience laughs and for more involved discussion of what's going on in the primary, so we're giving ourselves a little leeway. There's almost never a worry about being too short, but there's always a worry about being too long." Helford adds that he wanted to do a live show only for a special night. "I don't like just doing live shows for the sake of live, because then it's like you're just watching to hear somebody flub a line or something," he says. "So I wanted to make sure it was something special. On Drew, we used to do the live improv, which was really without a net, and that was wonderful. When I saw the New Hampshire primary was going to be on our normal air night, I thought, OK, this could be interesting and something that hasn't been done before — actually interacting with the news as it's going on live. You don't have many news events that are predictable like a primary. You know it's going to happen, so it gave us the opportunity to take advantage of that and do something unique."
TOPICS: The Conners, ABC, The Drew Carey Show, Bruce Helford, 2020 Presidential Election