CNN shows continue to shuffle spaces — though it’s not clear why

After shuffling anchors across different shows, studios and dayparts thanks to a temporary election schedule, CNN started the week of Oct. 17, 2022, with additional shows originating from what appear to be temporary setups.

The network’s early morning newscast, “Early Start,” which normally originates from the working newsroom set in Studio 17N at the network’s New York facility at 30 Hudson Yards, appears to have switched to using a recreation of the newsroom that normally sits behind anchors.

The difference is subtle.

For example, here is anchor Christine Romans anchoring from the actual set Oct. 13, 2022.

Here she is Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. 

There are slight differences in the color tone of the walls in the background, but the biggest giveaway is the simulated band of glass with repeating show logo running across it.

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This does not exist in the actual studio and, in fact, would be rather difficult to create in real life (it would also potentially require different glass panels or some other way to change the logos when different shows use the set).

Another hint is that the chair back is higher than the ones typically used in 17N.

CNN did not respond to requests for confirmation about studio changes.

Meanwhile, select New York-based editions of “CNN Newsroom” also use the same background, which features a color-changing wall and seamless LED panel that can be used to showcase different graphics and logos.

For example, here is Bianna Golodryga anchoring the “CNN Newsroom” block normally held down by Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow, from a different version of a similar graphic (Scuitto is reportedly on leave after suffering a fail while Harlow is slated to take overCNN This Morning” in the coming weeks).

The simulated frosted logo band is a bit harder to see due to the white lower third bar, but it’s there. Here too, the chair is another hint.

Ana Cabrera’s “Newsroom” hour, meanwhile, also typically originates from 17N, but uses the camera right side of the space that features a curved video wall on metal supports.

Her background is typically a New York City skyline, as shown above.

However, she’s been appearing without wide bump shots against a significantly different look that includes simulated monitors, columns and sliding glass doors presumably leading to edit booths.

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In reality, this is similar to what exists down the camera right side of the newsroom, so it’s almost as if the network is trying to simulate that she’s still seated somewhere in that vicinity. 

In reality, however, the background suggests that, if it were real, she’s actually sitting closer to the newsroom’s workstations than she would normally. The wall behind the monitors is also different from what’s in the space, so it couldn’t be created exactly as shown in real life.

Given that Cabrera typically appears in front of the city skyline, it’s also interesting that CNN didn’t simply use a modified version of that look.

All of these shows are likely originating from either an alternate full-scale studio — given that most of CNN’s facilities include large amounts of seamless video walls — or one of multiple insert studios that the network has and normally uses for guests and trimmed down productions.

These spaces typically include a single camera, chair, small desk that often isn’t shown on camera and are backed with a large video panel of some sort that can show any number of looks on it.

CNN also did not respond to questions about what might be happening in 17N that caused these shows to apparently be displaced. 

It’s possible the studio has been temporarily taken out of commission for some kind of routine repair or maintenance work unrelated to any programming changes. 

The network could also be updating the space more significantly to use for another reason, possibly as a permanent home for “CNN This Morning.”

CNN previously said that the show would get a new set but that it would not be ready in time for the launch, likely indicating that a temporary setup will be needed.

There could also be updates going on to accomodate New York-based election coverage.

New Day,” the network’s current morning show that is slated to end once “This Morning” launches, had been using a large set inside Studio 19Y, though production has most been shuffled to Washington, D.C., for its “lame duck” shows where video wall graphics simulate the look of the show’s faux brick and simulated windows.

Given the high profile nature of “This Morning,” the network could be planning to turn over 19Y to it eventually, but due to time limitations between when it was announced and its launch date, will have to use a temporary set for a period of time.

While it’s possible to expedite the design and construction of sets, supply chain issues are still having effects on getting the raw materials and electronics needed to build sets, so many design and fabrication firms can’t turn around new sets as fast.

If the set will require any new LED video panels, these often need to be custom ordered from overseas, which means there needs to be enough time for them to be manufactured, packed, shipped, unpacked and installed. That said, if CNN is striking the “New Day” set or rebuilding part of it, there is a significant stock of LED panels in there that likely still has several years left on its lifespan and could be repurposed in the new design.

Not counting the work stations, 17N is significantly smaller than most other studios at Hudson Yards, so it’s perhaps less like that would end up as a permanent home of “This Morning,” unless the network is looking to somehow incorporate the newsroom space and look to convey a “newsier” feel.

CNN execs have promised that “This Morning” will be a “disrupter,” though gave no details about what that meant.

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