Studio 19X was the final CNN studio to debut from its new location at 30 Hudson Yards. The studio was designed as an adaptable black box space for special broadcasts and creatively lit by Executive Lighting Designer Steve Brill, Senior Lighting Designer Niel Galen, Lighting Designer Dan Rousseau, and Systems Designer Richard Hoyes.
Studio 19X consists of a circular riser with integrated video panels, moveable video wall segments that can be configured in a variety of arrangements, internally lit ceiling elements, a variety of seating options for the host, and the ability to incorporate a live studio audience. The lighting is flexible allowing for multiple configurations of scenery, host, and audience, which enables CNN to produce distinct specials from one central location.
On December 13, 2020 CNN broadcast a special production of their annual event CNN Heroes hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa from Studio 19X. CNN Heroes traditionally takes place in the American Museum of Natural History in New York under the blue whale and celebrates ordinary people who make a difference in their communities. CNN reimagined the event in the midst of the pandemic to focus solely on people and extraordinary acts behind the fight against the coronavirus, the battle for racial equality, and struggle for social justice. Studio 19X provided a space where the event could be produced without an audience and adhere to strict safety protocols.
The set by Clickspring Designs included a circular LED floor display, a glowing runway for the hosts, LED screens, and a cube motif carried over from previous years. A number of the live remote interviews, including one with Dr. Anthony Fauci, were displayed in the cubes. LDG’s lighting design established a space was dark and atmospheric with beams of light and lens flares accenting the studio. The hosts were dramatically illuminated to clearly pick them up from their dark background. Many thanks to the people who worked tirelessly to reimagine and redesign this elegant altruistic broadcast.