NBC O&Os experimenting with morning background changes

WMAQ in Chicago has become the latest NBC O&O to begin using a stylized cityscape background during its morning news.

The station began using a new background behind its morning anchors earlier in May, which features the Willis (nee Sears) Tower in the center.

The look is similar, though not identical, to the one used at KXAS in Dallas. Chicago’s design boasts sharper glassy edges to the oversized NBC peacock layer and also doesn’t have the animated yellow lines. Chicago’s look as has a bit more blue in it.

WNBC, the network’s O&O in New York has been using a similar look starting earlier this year. Each city obviously changes the background with its hometown cityscape and branding in the line of text and peacocks that run through the middle.

NBC 5 Chicago also still uses the video wall to display video feeds from around the city, particularly on days with heavy rain, which was the station’s go-to look for a long time.

WMAQ experimented with still, stylized cityscapes on its video array last summer — before reverting back to using video feeds. 

This look did not feature the peacock feather overlays or text, however.

The station updated its set to seamless video walls over several months stretching from 2018 to 2019.


In Chicago, all three of the ‘big three’ network affiliates (and one independent station) bounce around between using cityscape backgrounds or video feeds behind the anchors — though each does take a slightly different approach. In some ways, WMAQ’s new look has some visual similarities to CBS O&O WBBM’s look.

So far, the NBC O&Os have not experimented with using the NBC peacock stylized backgrounds in other dayparts.

In the Windy City, the ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates all have video wall backgrounds —plus independent WGN, Fox O&O WFLD and NBC O&O Telemundo, all of which also produce newscasts. However, only the NBC affiliate has a seamless installation.