‘NBC Nightly News’ mostly carries over new look to weekend editions

After its first week in Studio 1A, the weekend editions of “NBC Nightly News” updated their looks as well.

On Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, José Díaz-Balart anchored the broadcast from Miami, seated in front of a video panel that was fed a still image of the shot weekday anchor Lester Holt uses to introduce most stories with animated topical graphics dynamically inserted into the still.

The background image used featured the freestanding video wall the network installed for election night 2020 but then made a permanent part of 1A, which is also home of “Today.”

The additional LED camera left added during the 2021 renovation showed the generic background featuring the oversized outline lettering of the “Nightly” logotype in blue and off white, but was notably not animated like when it’s used during weekdays.

While the header in this area typically retains the generic blue look, the lower portion sports a secondary topical image to complement what’s shown on its larger counterpart, but that was not done on Saturday’s newscast. 

Díaz-Balart was framed in such a way that he was on the camera left side of the screen, allowing any graphics added to be visible over his shoulder camera right. 

Because this simulated view did not allow for the on camera moves used in New York, the broadcast had to slightly modify the “breaking news” screen and text placement so they wouldn’t be covered by Díaz-Balart’s torso.

Díaz-Balart was also framed considerably tighter than Holt is.

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In this view, the words ‘Breaking News’ are slightly offset.

This is how that graphic appears when in New York.

Normally the “breaking news” animation is centered because the moving shots allow the operator to quickly adjust so that Holt doesn’t cover the text.

Saturday’s newscast also did not attempt to recreate the large curved video wall graphics typically used at the top of “Nightly” when it’s in Studio 1A nor did it use a different view for the kicker; instead all of the shots of Díaz-Balart remained the same, just with different graphics on the panel.

Before this, Saturday editions had also been using similar simulated background images that NBC introduced in late 2020 when the broadcast was originating from Holt’s apartment due to coronavirus pandemic concerns. 

Some of these graphics also included the “Nightly” logo along with the date below. The date has been being showcased on a vertical monitor in the wide shot of Holt just before the broadcast’s headline teases.

Neither weekend edition used the new “coming up” wipe that then resulted in the awkward boxing in of the old tease banner graphics.

Oddly, Saturday’s edition also used the full New York City-themed animated open first introduced back in 2016 but eventually trimmed down in 2017 to only use the last few seconds of the clip.

In November and December 2020, the broadcast switched to an open that completely dropped the NYC animation in favor of matrix map motif. 

Saturday broadcasts had been using that version, so it’s not immediately clear why the nearly five-year-old open that hasn’t been seen on air in months.

Sunday’s edition of “Nightly,” which is anchored by New York based Kate Snow, used Studio 1A, with essentially the same look and the weekday editions, including for the top story, kicker and other anchor intros.

Díaz-Balart is slated to debut “José Díaz-Balart Reports” on MSNBC at 10 a.m. eastern Sept. 27, 2021. He is slated to anchor from a studio in Miami, though it’s not immediately clear if it will be from WTVJ’s studios that also house the network’s Miami bureau or the Telemundo facility where “Noticias Telemundo” originates from.

As part of his move to MSNBC, Díaz-Balart is departing “Noticias Telemundo” but will continue to anchor Saturday “Nightly” editions. 

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