CBS News

2020 Election Headquarters Studio Design

CBS News 2020 Election Headquarters Studio Design
Creating CBS News' Election Night Headquarters at the Crossroads of the World

2020 Election Headquarters Studio Design

When big news events occur, people gather in Times Square, NYC. That holds true, even in a year as unprecedented as 2020.

CBS News, leveraging the strength of the recent ViacomCBS merger, utilized the 1515 Broadway Studio to create an immersive Election Night Headquarters at the Crossroads of the World.

Taking over the iconic space that was once home to MTV’s “Total Request Live,” the Election Night Headquarters is perched on the second floor overlooking Broadway. All of the excitement and energy of reporting on democracy in action will be captured in this new studio.

A bold, gridded plan creates a large volume divided into specialized areas for different aspects of the broadcast program. At the studio’s heart is the Main Anchor Position, where CBS News journalists will lead the coverage of the developing story of the 2020 election. This central position has a large LED display as its primary background, with an immersive view of an election-themed Times Square. The sculptural anchor desk is comprised of floating bands of color-changing light boxes, accentuated with angled metal and edge-lit acrylic. The large scale of the desk allows for up to five anchors to safely social distance during broadcast. The two metallic wings are removable, allowing for the central unit to host three anchors for other programming. This flexibility is key for the breadth of shows that will utilize the space during a unique election year.

Flanking the Main Anchor Position are two archways formed by folding LED tickers. These dynamic portals frame the center of the studio and provide graphic prosceniums into the adjoining broadcast spaces.

On the left is a space fitted with two large LED displays introducing vivid imagery of the results coming into the Headquarters. Reflective metal walls are trimmed with glowing highlights of edge-lit acrylic. A mobile portrait display in this area allows the talent to interact with the incoming data and remote reporters.

Directly mirroring this area is a parallel space, where the state of the race can be sized up and analyzed. A large LED display here is framed in a glowing architecture of light and glass.

A rich red, white and blue graphic floor flows throughout the studio, uniting all of the separate spaces into one composition. A large CBS eye logo rests in the floor’s center, seemingly cradled by the arching main anchor desk. From this graphic, augmented electoral maps emerge, able to highlight states in play, telling the evolving story of the evening. The entire studio architecture is built for storytelling.

And finally, all of the excitement and activity of the night’s developments are captured in the Decision Desk Area. Here, workstations line the perimeter, while monitors carry results from across the country. A mobile touch screen display enables correspondents to interactively break down the race.

The studio made its premiere nearly a week before Election Day 2020, on the October 26’s broadcast of the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell.” Margaret Brennan will moderate “Face the Nation” from the studio on November 1, the Sunday before Election Day.

CBS News 2020 Election Headquarters Studio Design Credits:

  • Client – CBS News
  • CBS News Creative Director – Renee Cullen
  • Design – Jack Morton Worldwide
  • Fabrication – Showman Fabricators
  • Lighting Design – CBS News
  • AV – Video Visions

Services involved