On this Election Night, if Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly needs to walk back to the network’s Decision Desk of polling experts to verify its decision to call Ohio for one of the candidates, she won’t have to walk as far as her memorable ramble down a long hallway in 2012. That’s because in the network’s brand-new high-tech studio, Fox News put the experts in a room right next to the studio, just a few dozen feet or so from the anchor desk where Kelly will be sitting.
It’s all part of the network’s new Studio F, a mammoth 3,675-square-foot space with 29-foot ceilings, a 1,750-square-foot balcony, giant exterior windows facing Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan, a 31-foot-wide LED wall, and over 41 TV monitors. In addition, it features some new bells and whistles, including a “video chandelier” (a circle 14 feet in diameter that will show live remotes, social media, and election alerts), a Twitter wall (that will also show polling results by state), a circular LED floor, and “eye lights” under the desks that help improve the lighting of the anchors’ faces.
The new studio, which made its debut on Fox News Sunday yesterday, during which Chris Wallace interviewed Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, will really be put to work on Election Night: Kelly and Brett Baier will lead the coverage at the anchor desk; Karl Rove, Dana Perino, Lisa Boothe, Juan Williams, Chris Stirewalt, and Chris Wallace will face them at another desk; Bill Hemmer will manipulate a touch-enabled screen to break down the results; and the public will be watching all the action from a plaza adjoining the building. (If people show up carrying offensive signs, the network is all set to move the cameras away, and the windows include a privacy film.) Fast Company was given a tour of the new studio and its giant control room by Warren Vandeveer, the network’s senior vice president of engineering and operations, and Peter Blangiforti, its vice president of broadcast technology.
After Election Night, the studio will be used for shows on Fox News and Fox Business, special events, town halls, and music performances. But, with some changes in its prime-time lineup and Kelly in contract negotiations, the exact shows to be filmed in the studio haven’t been decided yet. The studio will remain dark until the new year. In 2012, the network dominated cable ratings on Election Night, with more than 11 million viewers.
Fox News spent over $20 million to transform the space, which used to be occupied by a FedEx Kinkos store and a branch of Charles Schwab.