‘The Morning Show’ production design draws inspiration from real world of TV news

When creating the workspaces, living spaces and “set within a set” on Apple TV+’sThe Morning Show,” production designer John Paino got to take a peek behind the scenes at two of America’s most beloved morning newscasts — “Today” and “Good Morning America.”

“Apple didn’t say it had to look a certain way,” he explained. Thanks to that freedom he was able to combine what he saw on his tours, learned in his research and gleaned from plot points in the script to create the show’s sets.

While he is a seasoned production designer, Paino noted he’s never created a “set within a set” for a morning show, so the tours were vital in seeing what the “reality” of morning TV is.

Real life inspiration

At the time of his tours, he observed the giant, 40-foot curved video wall “Today” installed in its studio earlier that year and how its counterpart over at ABC had a bit of a different approach to its on-air look (the April 2019 “GMA” set update was still to come). 

Paino also went back and looked at images of nearly every morning show since the 1940s for ideas and inspiration — including the images in our own NewscastStudio photo galleries.

During this research, Paino quickly picked up on the idea of a sunrise being a constant graphical theme, suggested by a circle, half circle, horizon or by the colors used in the graphics. 

The way “Today” looked at the time of his site visits sparked the idea of making “The Morning Show” set more of the high-tech look NBC was using.


Somewhat ironically, however, about six months before “The Morning Show” debuted on Apple TV+, ABC updated the “GMA” studio with more high-tech video walls and, coincidentally, some of the design motifs that made it into the fictional “Morning Show” set.