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TV stations cancel variety shows this week after producer tests positive for coronavirus

The South Korean entertainment circle has faced another major setback after a staff member of a variety show was confirmed to have the novel coronavirus.

A producer of the food variety show "Bob Bless You" on Olive, a cable channel run by entertainment giant CJ ENM, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

She developed symptoms after returning from vacation in the United States on March 18.

The junior producer, whose name has been withheld, participated in production of the program, working mostly at the headquarters of CJ ENM in western Seoul for 10 days.

All production crew and cast members, including comedians Kim Sook and Park Na-rae, have undergone virus tests and are in self-quarantine regardless of their test results, according to CJ ENM.

No one has tested positive for the virus, it added.

The company said it will suspend production of "Bob Bless You" for two weeks, and its building has been disinfected and closed.

Other programs of CJ ENM and neighborhood TV stations are also taking precautions.

CJ ENM said it has decided to suspend production of several shows on tvN and Olive, and to cancel their broadcasting schedule for early April as part of its intensified preventive efforts.

"You Quiz on the Block," a variety show on tvN starring Yoo Jae-suk, "Amazing Saturday - DoReMi Market" on tvN, and food show "For the Lazy but Hungry" on Olive will be replaced with other special programs over the next one or two weeks.

At the same time, the terrestrial broadcaster MBC was affected by the COVID-19 case as one of the crew members of its Sunday night show "Where Is My Home" participates in Olive's "Bob Bless You."

It said all staff members have tested negative for COVID-19.

The public network KBS is also on the alert for possible infections among its employees.

Production crew of KBS' food variety show "Fun Restaurant" were tested for the coronavirus, as they used the same editing room at the KBS media center visited by the producer of "Bob Bless You." (Yonhap)