CNN’s Studio 19Z at Hudson Yards debuted on May 13, 2019 with both Erin Burnett Out Front and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon. The crisp and clean new studio was designed by Click Springs and beautifully lit by Executive Lighting Designer Steve Brill, Senior Lighting Designer Niel Galen, Lighting Designer Fred Uebele, and Systems Designer Richard Hoyes.
Studio 19Z is a visually flexible environment home to Erin Burnett Out Front, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, and Fareed Zakaria GPS each utilizing a different area of the studio. The studio is primarily comprised of LEDs, impeccably lit bright white walls, a steel staircase to a mezzanine level with producer workstations, and bright red CNN accent stripes. The white walls presented a significant challenge for lighting since they needed to be highlighted carefully and evenly to give depth without any distracting reflections.
Nightly broadcasts from Studio 19Z begin with Erin Burnett Out Front who sits in her section of the studio with the largest expanse of LED video wall with a panoramic NYC landscape and a bright white border. Burnett’s unusually shaped desk allows for easy conversations. The clean lines of her desk seamlessly flow into the rest of the studio adding to the clean crisply designed show.
The studio is transformed for CNN Tonight with Don Lemon. Lemon has always had a vibrant set, but now that he has a new studio, his set has matured along with his show. Similar to Burnett, CNN Tonight features white walls with clean lines. Floor pools in a cool color accent the floor and make it pop. In an unusually shaped desk, Lemon is front and center with multiple shots available offering up different backgrounds. His main background features the staircase and mezzanine with an interspersed skyline.
The final and particularly distinct show broadcast from Studio 19Z is Fareed Zakaria GPS, a Sunday program with engaging in-depth conversations on this week’s news on a global scale. Nestled into his own corner of the studio, GPS has a specific look that does not rely on LED video walls for its background. Instead, a blue and white printed world map is hung in sections around the desk. Clusters of white dots indicate the continents and highly populated areas. Vertical white lightboxes are interspersed between sections of map. Above all of this, there is a clearstory with lightboxes divided into sections of 3 that allow for a soft transition of color. The brightly lit Sunday show is shot at an alternative axis and allows for intimate intellectual conversations.
Many thanks to all of the people who worked tirelessly to bring this studio and its three shows to air.