‘Nightly’ recreates 1A look in D.C. studio

NBC Nightly News” originated from the network’s Washington, D.C. hub Feb. 10, 2022, and, like it did with its previous map matrix look, the network attempted to recreate the designs used back in New York.

Anchor Lester Holt was in town to tape the traditional Super Bowl interview with the President of the United States, so the network opted to originate “Nightly” from Studio N5, normally home to multiple MSNBC shows and “Weekend Today.”

The space features a large seamless “alcove” LED installation that wraps around an oval anchor desk and those walls were used to mimic the ones used back in Studio 1A in New York.

Since moving to 1A in October 2021, “Nightly” typically starts the show from in front of the 40-curved video wall the network first installed in February 2018.

The opening VO also frequently incorporates “video on video” shots of both the motorized LED panels in the “production area” of the space as well as the freestanding wall with glossy white surrounding that was originally used during the 2020 election and then relocated to its current position

These shots did not appear on Feb. 10’s broadcast, however, even though N5 has an additional LED wall camera right as well smaller panels built into the wall on the opposite side of the space that could have been used in a similar fashion.

Alternatively, the network could have even piped in live or pre-recorded shots from 1A (it’s not uncommon for shows originating from a different studio or even city to still use cameras and video walls in other locations).

Instead, Holt appeared on camera for the entire intro as the images on one panel behind him changed.

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At the top of the broadcast, the Studio N5 video walls were used to recreate the ‘breaking news’ animated used back in NYC. The ‘NBC News Washington’ logo and the gray ‘posts’ on the video wall are simulated to look like structural elements.

For Feb. 11’s “Nightly,” the network had Holt standing camera left of the video wall area, allowing it to recreate the blue “Nightly News” logo graphic and breaking news animation that are frequently used at the top of the show.

The shot was rather tight, however, and didn’t appear to make use of the full width of the far wall. In addition, the studio’s anchor desk was positioned behind Holt, similar to how a curved one sits in front of the larger one in New York but is never actually used by Holt, who intros other stories from a smaller unit set up camera left.

Imagery did, however, appear on the far camera left wall, which runs at a 90-degree angle to that rear wall. 

This was coordinated with whatever was on the larger section of LED — whether a secondary image related to the story Holt was introing or a simple blue background when just the logo appeared behind him on the other side.

In some ways, this mirrored the shot “Nightly” uses for most of the stories behind the top story and kicker back in New York — the main graphic and headline camera right and a complementary image camera left.

The shot used in New York for most of the anchor intros between the top story and kicker.

That said, for shorter intros, Holt appeared in front of a video loop of the Washington bureau’s camera position on the 7th floor, one floor down from N5. Some of these shots used the broadcast’s normal OTS template as well.

Holt in front of a video loop of the newsroom one floor up from the studio he was in with the standard OTS graphic.

Other stories featured the more elaborate design using both sections of the video wall or just the back portion with Holt seated at the desk.

This isn’t the first time N5’s video walls have been used to mimic the “Nightly” New York look. A similar approach was used in May and August 2021.

At the time, however, the broadcast was still originating from the area formerly designed as Studio 3C and using a different style of video wall graphics.

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