‘Nightly’ flips the layout in video wall anchor intro shots

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NBC Nightly News” began using a flipped version of the video wall graphics seen behind anchor Lester Holt from the seated anchor desk position that is prominently featured during the broadcast.

The changes appear to have started in June 2022 and the alternate blocking is not used on every broadcast.

When “Nightly” moved to Studio 1A, which it shares with “Today,” in September 2021 following a renovation to the space, Holt began introducing most stories in the middle of the newscast from a small glass-topped anchor desk situated near the portion of the space used as home based for the morning newscast.

However, this area is shot from a completely different angle that avoids showing the windows overlooking Rockefeller Plaza, instead incorporating three distinct LED and scenic elements. 

First is the vertical column that typically showcases a loop of an oversized version of the “Nightly” logotype. Next to this is a wide swath of LED panels, positioned slightly farther back, that cover a row of windows that’s also topped with a separate header segment.

Most prominent is the video wall that covers much of what was the opening to the space once known as the Orange Room, jutting out into the space. This wall, including its glossy white finish, was originally used during the network’s 2020 election coverage and then moved to its current position, where “Today” began using it.


All three of these elements intersect in a shot that, combined with the multiple curved elements added in the 2021 renovations, create multi-canvas, layered look.

While the column LED is not always seen on anchor intros, the two other sections typically featuring a mix of topical and branded elements. 

Typically when Holt is introducing a story, the largest video wall showcases a graphic with a light blue border and headline text set in Effra, while the one in front of the windows feature related imagery.

A news anchor sitting in front of an 'up next' graphic

During on-screen teases, the rear one can show a generic image with a relevant image on the one closer to the camera.

With the updated framing, the exact opposite is used — the one farther back features the headline and primary image while the larger video wall closer to the lens becomes secondary and typically isn’t shown at full width.

The setup can also be used after an in-studio correspondent debrief.

These shots have been done using the original setup, but often appeared to be a tricky shot to achieve — requiring the reporter’s body and hands to ideally remain out of frame as Holt read whatever came next.

With the text switching to the rear LED, the shot can be framed so that much less of the camera right side of the anchor desk is visible in these situations.

Adding this option also allows the show to vary how the same area is shot, though the one downside is that, because the amount of the far video wall visible varies based on the camera’s angle and perspective, which changes due to the “floating” style the broadcast typically uses, the network appears to have to allow generous margins on the left and right sides of the image to avoid any text being cut off when it is partially obscured behind another scenic element. 

Around the same time this new shot was introduced, NBC also appears to have started colorizing one of the LED strips in the knee wall running under the far video wall array with yellow instead of all white, accenting the bold orange used on the edges of the curved white wall segments.

Separately, “Nightly” has used the curved video wall installation in the non-windowed corner of the studio to showcase the effects of the overturn of Roe v. Wade in four states. 

The segment, which featured substitute anchor Tom Llamas, used four boxes for headlines out of South Dakota, Oklahoma, Kentucky and New Jersey. 


Each one featured a sunlight stock image of the state flag before switching to an outline of the state and headline. The final box switched from the New Jersey headline to a look much like the graphics that appear over behind the anchor desk.

“Nightly” typically uses the curved video wall and standing position to intro its top story and kicker, with the anchor then moving either to the desk or in front of the LED panels that line the windows overlooking the street along the other side of the space.

The curved video wall shots typically feature the anchor standing in front of a curved anchored desk parked in the background — but that is never actually used during the broadcast.

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