CNN’s temporarily shuffled schedule debuts

CNN’s temporary primetime lineup rolled out starting Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, and saw new faces on shows with familiar names and looks originating from different studios using arrangements that feel a bit like a complicated word problem or game of musical chairs.

The changes started at 4 p.m. eastern, when “The Lead with Jake Tapper” started without Jake Tapper at the anchor desk.

The network previously announced recently-ousted “New Day” anchors John Berman and Brianna Keilar would take over the show through Nov. 11, 2022.

Berman has so far solo anchored the show from New York, noting he is filling in for Tapper. He’s set up in Studio 21L, normally home of “Anderson Cooper 360.” 

This studio, like many at the network’s Hudson Yards facility in New York City, has numerous seamless video walls, making it possible for the network to showcase virtual set extensions depicting simulated structural spaces with horizontal reveal lines, frosted glass panels and windows and simulated lighting fixtures.

Overall, the VSEs largely mirror the ones used in Washington, D.C. 

Notably, the show does not feature as much on-screen emphasis on the word “lead” that Tapper’s version did — dividing the show into segments with names such as “The World Lead,” “The Politics Lead” and “The Health Lead.”

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Berman still references those titles on-air, but the dual coordinating vertical graphics denoting the segment title and story no longer appear behind the anchor.

The virtual set extension behind Berman does have its accent colors changed to the corresponding color coding that the show uses for each segment, but this is the only on-set hint of the D.C. style.

Studio 21L does notably include an array of ceiling-mounted LED opposite the “Anderson Cooper” home base that could have been leveraged for this purpose — or they could have been incorporated into the VSEs shown behind the anchor desk, though such updates may not have been worth using for such a limited run.

Berman sits at 21L’s normal anchor desk, with the custom-shaped LED panel in it and floor array showcasing the show’s logo.

Later in the evening, the 9 p.m. hour vacated by former anchor Chris Cuomo has become Tapper’s temporary home, under the name “CNN Tonight with Jake Tapper” (though it’s listed as simply “CNN Tonight” in most program listings).

Tapper remains in Washington, D.C., starting the show from the studio CNN updated for the launch of the failed CNN+ streamer that still features dimensional panels with integrated lighting that were added. The first part of his program has been a lengthy summary and analysis of a particular topic, a format that’s hard no to compare to “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which now only airs Mondays on MSNBC.

Tapper appears on-camera with frequently changing video wall graphics shown against the blue and green look that was used on Don Lemon’s version of “CNN Tonight” as well as its immediate predecessorDon Lemon Tonight.”

“Don Lemon Tonight” has effectively been canceled with Lemon himself moving to anchor the network’s upcoming new morning showCNN This Morning.”

Throughout the first block, Tapper tag-teams between two of the D.C. studio video walls with on-camera turns. At times, his lighting has felt inconsistent — almost as if he’s in two different spaces.

The graphics behind appear in boxes featuring gold bursts above and below and typography that has an outer glow effect that changes from green to blue as it moves toward the center of the headline.

At times, Tapper also makes use of one the mobile monitor carts in the space as well as a glass-topped desk for interviews that features a Washington, D.C.-version of the blue and green cityscape with repeating logo along the lower portion.

Finally, from 10 p.m. to midnight, Laura Coates and Alisyn Camerota co-anchor another, separate edition of “CNN Tonight.”

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This one broadcasts from Studio 19Z, the former home of “Don Lemon Tonight” that is also used by “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

For this installment, the gold-hued “CNN Tonight” look introduced for when the name was used as the replacement for “Cuomo PrimeTime” are used, allowing the network to visually differentiate between the two shows while also using a darker look for later in the evening.

Coates and Camerota sit at an oval-shaped desk with the video wall segment directly beneath the dimensional CNN logo mounted on the front of the balcony serving as their primary background.

Wide shots that include in-studio guests showcase the studio’s staircase and other video walls.

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