‘Laura Coates Live’ look conjures connections to ‘Larry King Live’

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Longtime CNN viewers might get a sense of deja vu when watching the network’s new offering at 11 p.m. — “Laura Coates Live.”

The show’s on-air look has some remarkable similarities to CNN’s longtime 9 p.m. program, “Larry King Live,” and, to a lesser extent, its predecessor, “Pier Morgan Tonight” (later “Piers Morgan Live.”

That’s largely thanks to the background that appears behind Coates — a map of the world created using hundreds of colored boxes on the video wall in one of the network’s Washington, D.C., studios.

Although not a dead ringer to King’s set (which was actually real hard scenic created with small translucent “pegs” that were painstakingly painted individually and then backlit), it’s hard not to see the similarities.

Coates has been using the part of the network’s Washington, D.C. studio space that was modified heavily for CNN+ programming, namely with the addition of a T-shaped anchor desk and abstract panels on the left and right side of the LED installation.

She sits on the camera left side of the desk as the camera pushes in so that the show logo, displayed in the middle of the background graphic’s Atlantic ocean, is over her shoulder.

In addition to the world map design, Coates’ backgrounds also include simulated structural elements and some variations of the normal look — including patterns of enlarged dots that have been blurred and, running around the lower part of the video walls, an oversized CNN logo that over peeks up behind her. The set’s integrated color-changing accent lighting is shifted violet. 

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In the open, it’s made perfectly clear that the “boxes” are meant to be interpreted as squares, with the animated sequence of colored 3D squares rising up above neighboring ones sort of like a 3D bar chart showing growth in whatever it’s measuring. In the open, at appears that some of these could be suggestive of a city, though it’s less clear what they are meant to stand for, if anything, on the video wall backgrounds.

The ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ set in New York.

The color overall color palette, which is much broader than what King’s set used, has some similarities to the blue and green layered backgrounds Morgan used during his tenure. To some extent, even the square and vertical rectangular motif of “Morgan” is also somewhat similar to Coates’ new look.

Coates’ show logo also has a box feel, with her name in a blue rectangle set in a bold, boxy font with curved corners. “Live” appears below in a bright yellow rectangle. 

It’s also interesting that the show name “Laura Coates Live” has the same letter sounds at the start of each word as well as a matching number of syllables as “Larry King Live.”

Some parts that aren’t quite reminiscent of the King days include the deep blue background between the square patterns instead of King’s black walls. There’s also no prop microphone on the anchor desk and the format of the show is significantly different — focusing on news coverage as opposed to in-depth interviews and caller feedback.

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