CNN debuts new Atlanta studio, with AR features to follow

CNN’s Atlanta studios have finally moved out of CNN Center to the network’s Techwood campus.

Way back in June 2020, what was then WarnerMedia announced that it would sell CNN Center in Atlanta, which had been its home since 1987. CNN originally used a building in Techwood as its home since its launch in 1980.

It was sold in 2021 to CP Group, with CNN using a leaseback option to retain some studio and other operations in the building until they could be relocated to Techwood.

Atlanta has remained home to the network’s world headquarters and primary newsroom location, even as facilities in New York and Washington, D.C., rose to prominence to viewers.

CNN and other some other former Turner Broadcasting properties that still operated from the CNN Center have been moving to Techwood as part of a multiyear process, with studio operations one of the last to make the switch.

After HLN canceled “Morning Express” in 2022, only a handful of regularly scheduled weekend programs still originated from Atlanta, mostly confined to smaller studio spaces.

The ground plan for CNN’s Studio H in Atlanta. 

Over at Techwood, Studio H is now the primary space for CNN programs.


CNN worked with Clickspring Design, its longtime design partner who has also worked on multiple spaces at 30 Hudson Yards in NYC.

An axonometric bird’s eye view of Studio H and its various features labeled.

Studio H contains a multivenue set with multiple video wall backgrounds and other scenic elements. An adjacent green screen studio can be integrated with Studio H thanks to a air wall and tracking scenic walls and will eventually feature virtual virtual environments as well as the option to be used to expand the look of the main set through virtual set extensions.

In this and other renders in this article, most of the ceiling and double-height elements are virtual, inserted via extended reality technology and do not exist in real life.

CNN also has the opportunity to insert VSEs into the ceiling of the Studio H set, digitally removing the grid and creating the sense of a light and airy two-story space.

This creates the appearance of a curved vaulted ceiling with additional windows. The curved elements notably mirror the shape of the letter “C.”

This feature has yet to debut on-air.

Like many studios these days, Studio H is heavy on the seamless LED video walls, giving the space a high degree of flexibility, which is a key factor given that CNN’s exact plans for the space are still evolving.

“We did a kick-off in summer 2022 and designed the physical studio space first, went through some rounds of revisions and adapted the design for the specific needs of the shows,” Clickspring’s Corey Atwood told NewscastStudio.

Clickspring initially designed a 360 studio but then pivoted to a hybrid physical-virtual studio, Atwood explained. This allows for AR extensions of the physical space as well as a movable partition into the adjacent chroma key studio.

“The project represents the most significant material engagement for CNN with respect to environmentally implementing AR-VR within its broadcasts,” noted Atwood. The network partnered with Girraphic to create the VSEs and virtual space.

Elements of the overall CNN aesthetic largely created by Clickspring such as white walls and glossy white surfaces are visible throughout the hard scenic areas.


The blonde wood slatting in the new space, as well as VSEs, take cues from the “CNN This Morning” graphics package, which is key given that the weekend editions of the show currently originate from Atlanta. The slat motif is also imagined as a combination of white and metallic bands.

That said, the space still allows for flexibility thanks to its four distinct venues, all of which are complemented with video screen technology.

There are two more traditional anchor desk setups, both backed with wraparound LED video walls. In between these is a more informal area with a custom L-shaped sofa facing a coffee table. This sits in front of a faux stone wall with a large, window-like video screen in the middle.

The sofa here is notable because of its yellow-orange cushions, a bit of a switch-up from the network’s fondness for the red in its logo, though anchor Victor Blackwell noted on-air that the shade is a nice choice for mornings.

The same yellow shade also appears throughout the space on the inner faces of built-in display cubbies featured in multiple parts of the space, including small corner equipped with a moveable touchscreen that, so far, has served as both a standup background and weather presentation option.

A unique element of the Studio H look is a diagonal slash found in both anchor desks and the base of the touchscreen cart. More subtly, it’s also visible on the endcaps of the sofa.

The shape appears to be a sort of signature element for the space as it does not appear prominently on other iterations of the network’s scenery. In the case of the monitor unit, it ends up looking a bit like a speech bubble, a former feature of the HLN network logo (that version was dropped in June 2023, however).

When it debuted in early March 2024, Studio H will be used, at least at first, for “First of All with Victor Blackwell” as well as “CNN This Morning Weekend” and “CNN Newsroom” weekend editions.

CNN is still exploring other options, including using the space for sports cut-ins for CNN International.  

Prior to moving to Techwood, most Atlanta-based programming originated from one of two sets — one previously designed for CNN International and a space that’s been modified over the years in an attempt to make it look more like the former “New Day” and “CNN This Morning” set with faux brickwork and an industrial feel.

Before “Morning Express” was canceled, it used Studio 7 at CNN Center, a space originally built for CNN and then renovated multiple times for HLN programming. That space largely took the place of the network’s once-iconic newsroom set where much of Atlanta’s programming originated from. 

Project credits

  • Set design: Clickspring Design
  • Fabrication: Warner Bros. Discovery
  • Lighting: CNN
  • Display technology: Planar and DesignLED
  • Virtual graphics implementation: Girraphic Park
  • Client Leadership: Guy Pepper, Reza Baktar