‘The Daily Show’ returns to full studio with an updated look

Comedy Central’sThe Daily Show with Trevor Noah” moved back into its full-scale studio with a live audience for the first time in about two years on Monday, April 11, 2022.

The updated space in NEP Studio 52, which the show has called home for the past decade, uses the same basic footprint of the set first installed in 2015, but with some significant updates that bring a decidedly different look to the show. 

Most of the updated set’s curved elements have been replaced with straight lines, including converting the headers and the faux balcony into alcoves of sorts backed with seamless Unilumin LED arrays and that are framed out with overhangs and columns.

Comedy Central worked with Dave Edwards of D Before E to update the space, who also brought a variety of asymmetrical frame and rectangular elements to the studio. Fabrication on the new set was handled by Showman Fabricators with technology integration by NEP Sweetwater.

Like the previous design from Jack Morton, there is also a significant amount of integrated lighting in the hard scenery, including strips tucked into the outer frames of columns and video wall surrounds.

Can lights and integrated backlit strips in the overhangs are also used extensively, both of which draw on elements from the previous look.

The primary background is also flat now, as is the credenza below it, and the desk has dropped its curved shape in favor of a flat front with a dimensional logo instead of integrated LED.

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The set studio still includes two video walls flanking either side of home base, which is now crowned with two oval header elements, the middle of which showcase a world map that is notably “upside-down,” at least when considered in relation to the studio audience’s vantage.

Instead of richer, red-orange wood tones, most of the surfaces have been updated with finishes that skew more tan.

On either side of home base, floor to ceiling panels that include a dark and light tan rendition of a world map that has a decidedly old school look to it — an element that draws comparisons to CBS News’ iconic Walter Cronkite-era map that’s bounced around various spaces and has been replicated in a variety of ways.

It’s also hard not to see some similarities between the map elements wood tones used over on “The Drew Barrymore” set at the CBS Broadcast Center.

The new set includes LED technology, compared to a mix of LED and LCD monitors on the previous design.

Trevor Noah gets a ‘traffic report’ in-studio from the video wall camera right of his desk.Camera right still features a large video wall that can be used for in-studio “reports,” but the one on the far left side of the studio has been made a bit more narrow and tied into the structural scenic elements in this corner.

The outermost areas of both sides of the studio also sport portions of the map motif as well, all of which are equipped with color changing technology.

The show continues to use a stylized cityscape background and on-set graphics are still decidedly dominated by blues, which stand out against the more muted tones in the physical elements.

This builds upon some elements in the much smaller studio that “The Daily Show” temporarily moved into in September 2021.

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That space, which was audience-less and wedged into the same floor as “CBS Mornings” inside 1515 Broadway, the headquarters of Comedy Central’s parent which was then known as ViacomCBS (now Paramount Global).

Like “CBS Mornings,” the studio did not make use of the sweeping views of Times Square that were popularized during “Total Request Live” when it used the second floor space.

Back in the spring of 2020, “The Daily Show” followed the move of most shows produced in front of a studio audience and removed them due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

For a period, host Trevor Noah also hosted the show from home, when it was informally renamed “The Daily Social Distancing Show.”

The program announced a hiatus in July 2021, before returning in September from the small temporary set, that was a major departure from the show’s past looks and instead featured a more intimate space outfitted largely with a more standard sized desk and accent chairs.

It was during this period that the show also redid its graphics in the more subdued, blue and tan color palette and switched to a cleaner set that brought in retro, vintage and mid-century modern elements as well.

The new version of Studio 52 doesn’t maintain the same tight quarters as the show used at 1515 Broadway, but that more muted color scheme still remains, including in a revamped open that features gold tinted views of NYC and the show’s logotype along with textural deep blue backgrounds with bursts of gold.

Noah still appears on camera next to a floating OTS style graphics that have a perspective effect tied to them along with a faint suggestion of a world map in the gold burst in the upper left corner and side.

In-studio guests still sit the desk with Noah on the camera left side, which has a peninsula that allows the two to face each other.

There’s also a more subtle element that was carried over from the Times Square days — the show’s picture feels a bit warmer than before, likely due to a combination of the color palette update, the lighting design from George Gountas and how cameras are shaded. 

“The Daily Show” also brought back its studio audience near full capacity, but required all members to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and wear masks. 

Coronavirus vaccines and boosters are highly recommended by multiple public health officials and experts. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters have undergone extensive testing and monitoring to ensure their safety. Scientific research has shown the vaccines and boosters to be very safe and highly effective in decreasing the likelihood of contracting the illness and, if one does become sick, symptoms are less severe and less likely to lead to hospitalization or death. For more information about COVID-19 and coronavirus, visit the CDC website. You can locate a free vaccination site or clinic near you at Vaccines.gov. As with any medical decision, you should always discuss your options with your doctor.

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