‘Nightly’ jumps back and forth, uses little-used D.C. studio for one night

It’s been a bit of a bi-coastal week for “NBC Nightly News.”

Anchor Lester Holt appeared Monday, Feb. 20, 2023 and Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023, from the network’s Los Angeles bureau, though the broadcast did not make use of the video walls to create dynamic backgrounds behind Holt as it has done in the past.

Instead, Holt sat at the anchor desk situated in front of a glass wall overlooking the bureau’s newsroom. Because of this, the broadcast inserted traditional overlay OTS graphics for most stories.

‘NBC Nightly News’ anchor Lester Holt in the NBC Los Angeles bureau with traditional OTS. 

It appears that the newsroom behind Holt has had its lighting adjusted slightly to be a bit more blue. 

In the past, a loop of the L.A. newsroom was actually fed to video walls behind former anchor Brian Williams and Holt in the network’s New Your studios.

Then, on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, Holt was in Washington, D.C., anchoring from the little-used Studio N6, NewscastStudio confirmed.


In this space, the network did attempt to recreate the look the broadcast uses back in New York, though not in the same way it has in Studio N5 in the past.

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023 saw Holt back in Los Angeles. He anchored from there Friday, Feb. 24, 2023 as well.

While in D.C., Holt was positioned in a corner of the studio outfitted with a “jigsaw” LED array interspersed with backlit panels and a more traditional wall-mounted one perpendicular to it. 

As when he is in New York, the network used the camera right element to show branded and topical graphics.

The look was largely the same — complete with the light blue border — though the text was moved over slightly in order to fit in the lower right part of the array, which has a larger, roughly square space with small segment jutting out to the left.

The shape appears to have been inspired by the more complex configuration of this look in Studio 3AW in New York, the broadcast’s former home.

In many ways, the D.C. graphics appeared to essentially be designed to ignore the part of the wall that was backlit panels instead of the video wall surface, with the blue border continuing around the entire graphic as if it was an uninterrupted rectangle. 

The broadcast did not, however, use the wider, box-free style graphic that typically is shown on the curved video wall in Studio 1A for each broadcast’s top story and kicker.

How the top story is typically shot back in New York City.

Instead, Holt anchored these segments standing; he sat for the rest of the broadcast in roughly the same position. There was also no visible anchor desk parked behind him, as NBC has been a fan of doing lately.

Meanwhile, the additional video panel camera left was used much like the one that runs behind the freestanding one in Studio 1A — to showcase secondary, often more muted imagery, either related to the story at hand or the default off-white with gold outline “Nightly News” lettering. 

At the top of the broadcast it was used to show the broadcast’s logo and date, as its typically fed to one of the mobile vertical monitor units in 1A.

Most of the shots of Holt appeared to use a dolly-zoom-boom movement, though likely not captured with a jib like in New York. Instead, it appears the shots were produced with pre-programmed moves via the robotic camera system, given how similar they were each time.


At the tail end of each move, there was often a similar shakiness visible, likely due to the camera traveling over a rough spot on the studio floor.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Holt was flying back and forth between coasts in one week, though it’s not uncommon for anchors to anchor from a network bureau when they are traveling for assignments or even to accomodate personal schedules.

NBC did not comment on Holt’s travel schedule.

It’s also not clear why “Nightly” wasn’t produced from Studio N5 as it has in the past. It’s possible there was a conflict with the studio being used for something else, though sister network MSNBC was broadcasting “The Beat” from New York (though it uses Washington, D.C., video wall backgrounds). 

Producers may have also just been looking to mix things up a bit — in some ways the studio area Holt was in has more of the solid, glossy surfaces that 1A has, though it lacked larger video walls.