MSNBC lets the lecterns do the talking in debate promo

MSNBC has put the lecterns from its debate set center stage for a promo for Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019’s debate.

The spot starts with a darkened version of the debate stage with quotes from each candidate playing in the background as one of the lecterns of the stage “lights up” thanks to a spotlight composited into the scene.

The network also added a virtual version of its logo along the auditorium background.

As the quotes continue, parts of the debate stage light up to reveal more of the stage and the pace increase until all lecterns are illuminated.

In some ways, it’s a bit like a disembodied version of Disney’s “Hall of Presidents” attraction.


At the end of the promo the lines “What will you do?” and “How will you do it” appear on the screen with a line and three stars between them.

All of the sound bites used before this point answer one of these two questions.

The view then switches to the “hanger” style graphic used in the previous debate opens with three virtual panels rotating into place revealing NBC’s debate logo.

The promo seems to suggest that, as is customary, MSNBC will reuse the same set it used back in June, when the debate was carried by NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo.

This time around it won’t air on the NBC network and is being done in partnership with The Washington Post.

Most networks build a single debate set that can be moved and reused throughout the election cycle. These are distinct sets than the ones that are used once candidates are chosen and the Commission on Presidential Debates takes over as debate sponsors.

In addition, MSNBC is also airing another version of the promo that focuses on the moderators but uses the same two questions.