‘Morning Joe’ gets a new home studio

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MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” got a big upgrade to its sometimes-home inside the Miami, Florida apartment of married co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

The updated space debuted on June 7, 2022, although a virtual set expansion appeared a day earlier.

Long before the pandemic made remote production widespread, “Joe” was already known to be used between various locations.

New “Meet the Press” studio pays homage to heart of democracy, free exchange of ideas

The design of the new set is inspired by NBC News’ Studio N1 in Washington, DC, originally designed as the home of “Meet the Press” and part of a new office for NBC News and MSNBC. Around town, “Joe” often comes from space with “Hallie Jackson Now” on NBC News Now.

The space features multiple walls in the distinctive colonial blue hue used in N1 and features a seamless LED video wall set inside an arched opening similar to those found at DC, with HD Studio providing the design for the fixtures. two studios.

The set was manufactured by Blackwalnut with lighting by The Lighting Design Group.

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Another wall features the same blue finish with a mix of picture frames, at least some of which are actually additional LED panels, an element present in N1.

Wide views of the space show Scarborough and Brzezinski seated at a small circular glass table with a gourd-shaped base on top of a pair of beige-colored drawing-height chairs with the ribbed style that NBC News uses prominently on the trays across the country. The chairs bear similarities to the famous Eames chair originally designed by Herman Miller, but have since been widely replicated.

Finishing the look is marble and simulated wood flooring with a compass-style inlay.

The location of the “Morning Joe” studio has been the subject of widespread interest and speculation among viewers. Even before the pandemic made canned anchors more common, “Joe” frequently featured each of his anchors, including Willie Geist and frequent contributors, in his own box.

In this December 2021 screenshot from “Morning Joe,” Mika Brzezinski, left, is outside the studio, while Joe Scarborough is at Studio 3A.

Ultimately, this would have been done, at least for a while, to hide the fact that Scarborough and Brzezinski were in the same location outside of New York. The pair reportedly secretly dated for at least part of that time, although NBC management reportedly privately knew about the relationship.

The arrangement and relationship was something of an open secret in the halls of 30 Rock, as many behind-the-scenes staff members could tell the duo were broadcasting from the same location despite what viewers saw.

During this period, Scarborough and Brzezinski were usually depicted seated in front of a separate video board with a separate Washington-DC or politically-themed graphic on it.

In many cases, the two were actually seated a few feet apart, in front of separate screens, and displayed in boxes as an alternative to the traditional two-shot anchor. Sometimes the use of the boxes was necessary: ​​there were times when one was in New York and the other was in a separate location.

The two would typically maintain eye contact with the camera rather than each other’s physical location in space in order to maintain the illusion of separate locations.

Eventually, the duo would announce their engagement and wedding in 2018 and the need to “hide” the fact that they were in the same place effectively came to an end. Scarborough also changed his voter registration and Florida residency status that year, a move that would have saved him millions in income taxes he would have had to pay in his former home state. , Connecticut.

Others said at the time that the two anchors had aging parents living in Florida and the move was made to be closer to them. It’s not immediately clear where Brzezinski is registered to vote or if she owns any property in the state.

Either way, to maintain residency status requirements, a person is required to meet “Rule 183,” which means being physically present at a residence in Florida for at least 183 days of the year. (which corresponds to a little more than half of the year) .

This screenshot from 2020 shows the “Morning Joe” co-hosts on a studio set in Florida. The image of the White House and surrounding city is broadcast on low-profile video panels, while the red knee wall with the repeated logo is structural.

At the time, the network set up a cramped home studio at a property near Jupiter, Florida that would eventually transition from two disparate camera setups to include an array of video panels that combined to create a version at smallest angle video scale. wall installation at Studio 3A in New York.

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The new version of the studio, meanwhile, is in Miami.

“Morning Joe” co-hosts Mika Brzezinski, left, and Joe Scarborough at Studio 3A in New York City in 2019.

Home studio equipment, which includes robotic cameras and networked teleprompters, is largely controlled remotely – a facet that would become commonplace during the pandemic but which until then was relatively unknown for a show produced for a large network (Fox’s Tucker Carlson has a similar setup – a studio in an outbuilding on a property he owns in Maine).

With this updated look including professional stage and lighting design, it looks like MSNBC expects this arrangement to continue for the foreseeable future.

MSNBC did not respond to requests for comment on NewscastStudio’s arrangement or new studio.

A wide view of Studio 3A used in December 2021 featuring Joe Scarborough on set with Mika Brzezinski elsewhere.

As a politically themed show, “Joe” frequently used Washington, D.C. footage in its backgrounds, though it was mostly produced off-site, although for a time a view window screen of a cityscape and an American flag was used behind Scarborough while Brzezinski was seated. in front of a simulated blue wall, which was actually powered by rear projection or 3A LED video screens.

The use of the Washington Monuments as a background element continued with the space updated through the use of virtual set extensions inspired by the newsroom space adjacent to Studio N1 to DC

This view of Studio N1 in Washington, DC features many of the simulated elements featured in the “Morning Joe” virtual set extensions, including windows, vaults, light fixtures, and columns.

Viewers are now treated to a rendering of the faux stone columns and archways found in the workspace that frame a view of the White House and its grounds.

Also depicted are the barrel vault and frame and bowl-shaped light fixtures, and floor-to-ceiling glass walls adorned with a repeating line of NBC peacocks. Some of the fake columns feature the show’s logo appearing to be etched into them.

The end result appears to be an effort to create a sort of balustrade overlooking the White House, although alternatively it could be seen as an indoor virtual space with seamless LED video walls showing footage of the building.

Scarborough actually appeared in front of this chart on June 6, presumably in Florida, but Brzezinski was in New York, so the full extent of the updates was not immediately apparent.

Another area of ​​improvement is in the studio scale, which allows for larger shots, like the one at the top of this article, to be displayed. While this is a far cry from the handheld shots the show can use in Studio 3A or N1, it’s still an improvement over the old setup.

NBC and MSNBC had gradually ramped up their use of simulated backgrounds or virtual set extensions before the pandemic, such as simulated views of Rockefeller Center and Washington, D.C. that included composite elements such as virtual signage, billboards and lighting effects.

When production on many of its shows began from presenters’ homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the practice was stepped up and included renditions from the former ‘NBC Nightly News’ studio adjacent to the space. 3A.

MSNBC itself also transitioned to using virtual set extensions during its “MSNBC Reports” branded hours in September 2021, which in turn also featured renditions inspired by the former “Nightly” set.

‘Saturday Today’ Uses Video Walls in an Attempt to Create a DC Version of Studio 1A in NYC

NBC’s Saturday edition of “Today” also recently switched to using a simulated window view on its heavyweight video wall set in Studio N5, located upstairs at N1.


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