‘Hoda and Jenna’ get new open filled with ‘giant balls’
The show, sometimes referred to as the “fourth hour” of “Today,” switched away from using an open with Rockefeller Center references to one showcasing footage of co-anchors Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager shot on location at Summit One Vanderbilt, an immersive experience near the top of the skyscraper of the same name.
The venue, which is open to the public, combines a traditional observation deck with glass-floored elevators and balconies designed by Snøhetta as well as mirrored surfaces designed and created by artist Kenzo Digital.
In the new “Today” open, Kotb and Hager are shown dancing and standing in the mirrored infinity room as well as tossing the mirrored silver spheres that are part of the “Air” experience inside of Summit, designed by Kenzo as well.
Hager continues to serve as the de facto announcer — but her voiceover eliminates the reference to Rockefeller Center and New York.
The new open features a custom music track with the lyrics “get up” as well as logos inserted into the footage shot at Vanderbilt.
Other updates include more glassy angular elements, which coordinate with the new graphics the first two hours of “Today” debuted in May 2021 and eventually spread across all of its franchises.
There are also monochromatic animated transitions featuring both the “Today” sunrise icon and the “Hoda and Jenna” logo.
The final scene shows Kotb punting one of the spheres toward the camera, which forms an O-shaped wipe that serves as the segue between the open and two-shot at the top of the show.
The logo itself remains the same and the clean, geometric sans serif continues to be used in the show’s teases and open before switching to the Flama Condensed (the font other parts of “Today” uses) in the lower thirds.
Those silver spheres at Summit One Vanderbilt caused a bit of a stir when the open debuted Sept. 12 after Hager tried to find the words to describe them — only to land on “giant balls.”
There was audible cackling in the studio as the double entendre became clear.
“I wasn’t trying a gratuitous use of that, that’s what those are,” Hager said on air. Kotb, meanwhile, agreed that the objects where, in fact, “silver balls.”
While NewscastStudio referred to them as “silver spheres,” which is decidedly more poetic, we concur that “giant balls” is accurate as well.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the design teams that contributed to specific parts of Summit One Vanderbilt and the “Air” experience. It has been corrected.