WNBC moves into its half of the newly-split Studio 3B

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NBC’s flagship-owned station, WNBC, moved into its half of the recently sub-divided Studio 3B on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2023.

The new set, from Jack Morton Worldwide, follows the ultra-sleek aesthetic with a plethora of video walls used at other NBC-owned stations.

Along with the new set, the project’s launch represents a significant structural change at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, dividing Studio 3B, one of the complex’s larger studios, into two smaller studio spaces.

The NBC New York side is now known as Studio 3B East, with the other half — the future home of Telemundo station WNJU — known as Studio 3B West. Sources also say that staffers have been referring to them internally as the “WNBC side” or “Telemundo side.” The Telemundo set is expected to debut in late 2024 as part of a facility move from New Jersey to 30 Rock. 

The new WNBC set features an anchor desk made from a blend of wooden tones, metallic surfaces and glass, with a large edge-lit panel displaying the station logo in the center. Anchors stand behind the desk and move throughout the studio during a newscast, taking advantage of the various LED video walls. 

The overall design includes a variety of strategically placed LED video walls in varying sizes and configurations, with the primary LED wall extending nearly the entire width of the studio space.

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The upgraded primary video wall can be used to showcase live video feeds of the city — much like the station did on its old set down the hall in Studio 3K — or a variety of custom backgrounds, including stylized cityscapes with an oversized NBC peacock overlay and a bold red option for breaking news.

NBC Owned Television Stations previously used metallic mullions and vertical monitors behind the anchor desk to create a set of faux windows, a look that originated with WNBC and was originally part of Studio 3K. As technology has evolved, these “windows” were phased out for large seamless video walls. 

Camera left of the anchor desk is another seamless video wall that serves as, among other things, a weather venue.

The space also includes a trio of vertically mounted pivoting panels that can be used in various standup combinations.

There are other standup venues in the studio, including one with a smaller, more traditional video screen in another area that can be used for standups as well as an alternate weather venue along with a floor to ceiling vertically mounted panel.

Meanwhile, the space is mainly wrapped with backlit panels, some of which feature NBC peacock accents. These walls are also decked out with edge-lit accents and strong verticals in a blend of wood and metallic tones, elements that have been used at other NBC-owned stations. 

For newscasts, these panels largely display blue hues while turning cooler for lifestyle programming such as “New York Live.” Lighting design for the space was handled by Niel Galen of the The Lighting Design Group.

In the two corners flanking the anchor desk is a narrow textural gray rendition of the peacock, including additional edge-lit elements.

The camera right version of this panel is curved. It is aligned to be used as a background behind the far-camera-right anchor desk position, which is commonly used for sports.

In addition to the new set, WNBC also outfitted the space with upgraded technology from Ross Video, AutoscriptSony and ARRI.

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In addition to four Ross Video Cambots, a Ross Furio SkyDolly grid-mounted camera system allows the station to capture sweeping views of the studio.

So far its use has been largely restricted to transitional shots heading into weather, showing the forecaster walk from the far-camera-left position at the anchor desk to the video wall, which is ultimately captured by one of the traditional, pedestal-based robotic cameras in the space. 

The SkyDolly is also ideal for bump shots and gives WNBC the ability to capture high-level shots with more elaborate moves similar to the advanced jib shots and floating camera “walk and wander” effect its parent network is fond of using.

With WNBC live in its new home, the project to split Studio 3B into two separate spaces is essentially halfway done. 

Next up will be the new set for Telemundo 47, which is slated to move the core of its operations to 2200 Fletcher Avenue in Ft. Lee, New Jersey, its home since 2004, when it moved in after CNBC moved Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

As required by its FCC license, WNJU will still maintain a physical presence in the Linden, New Jersey area. 

However, plans call for the station’s primary newsroom to move to 30 Rock as well, where it will share space with WNBC.

The combination of the two operations will mean bringing the final NBC-owned duopoly to maintain separate studios and newsrooms.

The splitting of Studio 3B represents the second significant update to the longtime layout of NBC’s headquarters. In September 2023, an updated Studio 6A was unveiled, with the longtime audience risers mostly demolished in favor of a different arrangement for NBCU’s “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”

Studio 3B has a long history at NBC. It was previously home to “The Doctors” soap opera, “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” as well as “Today,” “Dateline” and “NBC Nightly News.”

It is one of two larger studios on the third floor of 30 Rock, the other being 3A, which was combined with 3C in a 2007 renovation to create a new home for MSNBC and primary newsroom for NBC News. The space had a variety of updates over the years until it was largely redone in 2021. By that time, NBC News had moved its newsroom to the fourth floor.

WNBC spent time in both 3K and 3C, as well as Studio 6B. Today, 3C maintains its historic designator but is also known as Studio 3AW, for “Studio 3A West,” much like the new WNBC-WNJU labels.

For a period, Studio 3B was home to both “NBC Nightly News” and the now-canceled newsmagazine “Rock Center.” The “Nightly” anchor desk was on the east side, roughly where WNBC is now.

“Rock Center,” meanwhile, featured a sit-down area and large catwalks with large rear projection screens simulating windows, roughly in the space that Telemundo will take over in 2024.

After “Rock Center” was canceled, “Nightly” would eventually move over to the west side of the studio, with portions of the scenery on the east side relocated there. The seating area was removed and replaced with the “Nightly” anchor desk.

Project credits

For WNBC-WNJU
President/General Managers
  • Eric Lerner, President and General Manager, NBC 4 New York/WNBC
  • Cristina Schwarz, President and General Manager, Telemundo 47/WNJU
News Leadership
  • Amy Morris, Senior Vice President of News, NBC 4 New York/WNBC and Telemundo 47/WNJU
  • Dave Manney, News Director, NBC 4 New York/WNBC
  • Alexa Rodriguez, News Director, Telemundo 47/WNJU
Creative Services/Promotions
  • Gina Oliva-Pinto, Vice President, Marketing and Creative Services, NBC 4 New York/WNBC
  • Lynette Pinto, Vice President, Vice President, Marketing and Promotions, Telemundo 47/WNJU
  • Evelina Stepanenko, Graphics Manager
Technology and Operations
  • John Gonzalez, Vice President Technology & Operations, NBC 4 New York/WNBC and Telemundo 47/WNJU
  • John Lorusso, Director, Engineering
  • Juan Pablo Olave, Manager, Engineering
  • Brandon Meyer, Director, IT
  • Victor Pagan, Director, Production Operations
  • Brian Cafaro, Chief Director
For Jack Morton Worldwide
  • Production Designer: Evan Hill
  • Design Director: Andre Durette
  • Project Manager: Matt Jackson
  • Illustration: Chris Maroney, Erik Nevala-Lee, Hayden Barbeau, Jenniliee Aromando
  • Graphic Design: Raeford Dwyer, Shelline Vandermey
  • Drafting: Ben Bauer, Nick Nocera
For Showman Fabricators
  • Scenic Fabrication Project Manager: Pat O’Donnell
  • Technical Drafting: Kell Fayton-Hrdy, Megan Abate
For The Lighting Design Group
  • Senior Lighting Designer: Niel Galen
  • Lighting Designer: Anna Jones
  • Lighting Project Manager: Hannah Zucker
For Greg Gerner Inc.
  • AV Integrators: Dave Hulings, Andrew Gerner, Greg Pierce

Photos courtesy of NBC.

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