How ‘NBC Nightly News’ uses D.C. bureau’s video walls to recreate NYC’s look

NBC Nightly News” has been originating on and off from Washington, D.C. since May 2021 using Studio N5’s video walls to recreate the broadcast’s look in New York.

Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021’s newscast originated with Washington, with Peter Alexander filling in for Kate Snow, who typically anchors from NYC.

Kristen Welker anchors ‘NBC Nightly News’ from Washington, D.C. in May 2021.

The network first used Studio N5 back on May 28, 2021, when White House correspondent and weekend “Today” anchor Kristen Welker filled in for Lester Holt ahead of Memorial Day weekend.

Set Design

NBC News Studio N5

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Both Welker and Alexander are based in Washington and, after commuting from there to New York to co-anchor “Today” on Saturdays, the network eventually opted to shift production of that edition to D.C.

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Since November 2020, “Nightly” has been using the video walls installed on its set in the area formerly designated as Studio 3C inside 30 Rockefeller Center to showcase large sweeping topical graphics behind anchors.

The setup mainly centers around the “vista alcove” that includes the studio’s mobile anchor desk “parked” behind it. Holt no longer actually sits at the desk for “Nightly,” instead using a glass topped pod.

“Nightly” even recreated the look when it reverted to remote production in late November 2021, using a photo of the set that could be modified to make it appear graphics were being fed to the video walls.

That look is largely replicated in Washington, with the seamless alcove-like LED installation in the studio used to showcase large panels of graphics, complete with similar dot matrix style world map overlays and text headlines as New York uses.

Studio N5 opened earlier in 2021 and was designed by HD Studio.

The short, flat “end cap” of the LED typically displays a simulated “frosted” panel with “NBC News: Washington” and the peacock logo turned on its side (on at least one occasion, this graphic switched to a different, lighter font, rather than the signature geometric font NBC News uses for its classic logotype. 

Also like in New York, the anchor desk in N5 is placed behind the anchor standup shots, but anchors, including Alexander, have also sat it to intro stories, typically with the graphic appearing camera right rather than camera left as on standup versions. 

The setup also allows for a correspondent or guest to join the anchor desk, with the camera adjusting from a one shot on Alexander to a two shot of him and Andrea Mitchell on Aug. 15’s newscast.

In this arrangement, the graphic headline remains between the anchor and guest, keeping the label visible to viewers.

Here, Andrea Mitchell is shown sitting in front of the LED video wall camera right, with a red and blue dotted graphic that partially creates a world map behind her.

NBC has used similar tactics to recreate the “Nightly” look in the network’s Los Angeles bureau, where Holt sometimes anchors from. 

The L.A. studio still has its original LED video walls, which are not seamless, as well as a corner array that mimics the look of “windows.”

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