NBC relocates core Olympics programming to Connecticut

After NBC opted to bring primary Olympics anchor Mike Tirico back to the U.S. to make “coordination issues” cleaner, it switched to using redressed sets to channel the spirit of the Games for him starting Feb. 9, 2022.

NBC originally built two “ski lodge” sets inside the International Broadcast Centre in Beijing for 2022 Winter Olympics coverage across its platforms.

However, because the network only sent limited talent and crew to China due to COVID-19 concerns, studios at NBC Sports headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut were modified for Olympics coverage before the Games started.

Before opting to bring Tirico back to the U.S., NBC had already been originating some USA and CNBC network coverage along with Peacock shows such as “Olympic Ice” and “The Olympic Show”  from Connecticut so that more staffers could stay in the U.S.

Many of the existing sets in Stamford, most of which were installed in 2013 and 2014, already had large video walls, so it was easy to feed branded graphics to them to match the Olympics look.

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HD Studio, who designed the “lodge,” also worked closely with fabricator Blackwalnut to re-dress the Connecticut sets with Olympic-themed elements and furnishings that coordinated with the China studio.

Studio 1, which is normally the home of “Football Night in America,” was converted to Tirico’s primetime space once he arrived back in the states.

A variety of athletic equipment had been brought in and added to the studio temporarily, mirroring similar elements on the Beijing sets. Furniture and area rugs were also sourced, with an eye on them complementing the general style of the pieces used at the IBC.

In addition, custom-built elements such as “U.S.A.” dimensional lettering and internally lit Olympic rings can be added to the space and moved around to create different looks.

HD Studio also added anchor desks and standup pods that match the diamond look in Beijing along with oversized freestanding “tiles” fronted with event pictograms.

New credenza style pieces with snowflake patterns were also brought in to serve as a way to display more gear and memorabilia. 

Color changing LED was leveraged to make existing and temporary glass surfaces give off a frosty blue and white vibe. 

Many of the backgrounds behind Tirico used a wintery image with branding or topical graphics blended in as needed. 

NBC’s Beijing sets also included video wall “windows” that were used to showcase winterscapes, rather than real views that some past sets have incorporated. 

Example of Studio 1 during Peacock’s ‘The Olympic Show.’

The network originally planned to have Tirico in China for the start of the Olympics and then fly him to the Los Angeles area for Super Bowl LVI coverage on Feb. 13, 2022 — and then fly him back across the Pacific to pick up covering the Games in Beijing.

However, those plans were scrapped when the network opted to bring Tirico back earlier than planned — and also announced he won’t be returning to Asia after the big game.

This means the modified spaces in Connecticut will likely get more on air time, though NBC will likely still use its two studios in Beijing for select programming and segments.

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Tirico is still slated to fly to Los Angeles to cover the Super Bowl and then return to Connecticut.

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