‘Karamo’ Takes National Spotlight With New Take on Daytime TV Drama – NewscastStudio | Episode Movies

It’s no secret that daytime television is full of drama — but production designer James Pearse Connelly saw creating the set for Karamo, the new syndicated talk show that replaced Maury, as a “call to action to reshape the drama.” “.

These are big challenges for a number of reasons, including the fact that bringing a show starring Karamo Brown, of Real World and later Netflix’s Queer Eye revival, into national syndication was a significant boost to his career meant Connelly had to create a standout space.

The “Karamo” set also stands on historical ground – at least in the world of broadcasting.

set design


View a gallery of this project…

Studio A at NBCUniversal’s Stanford Media Center is where Jerry Springer’s guests competed before the show ended. Today, Steve Wilkos, Springer’s longtime safety manager, also produces his own talk show here. “Maury” also made use of space — with all three shows bringing their own brand of drama.

“Karamo” cannot avoid drama. Episodes feature titles like “I’m 17, are you my daddy?” and “Unlock my phone… But you have a mistress.” However, the show was designed from the start to approach dramatic issues with a carefully considered approach.


Connelly worked closely with NBCU from the start to develop the pilot for the show.

Early decisions included using green as the primary color palette for the entire brand – and Connelly took inspiration from this to carefully select a shade that complements a wide range of skin tones while also feeling modern and fresh.

Ultimately, the greenery used on set is primarily made from custom glass tiles that can be used in a variety of ways and illuminated to control how it reads on camera.

In creating the set, Connelly decided to create a set that was unmistakably a set. It’s not meant to emulate a Chicago Loft-like Springer set with its infamous brick walls.

It’s also quite different from the other talk show that Connelly has to thank for – “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” which is inspired by the inside of a barn.

In the end, Connelly kept a common aspect of the talk show set design – a large seamless video wall dominates the center of the set.

“Each show has an LED screen, so you almost forget it’s there,” he said, noting that they’ve become so popular because they give producers flexibility in showcasing branded and themed imagery. However, Connelly broke the convention of a 16:9 rectangle and chose to “pan” it.

This includes adding hard scenic elements overlaying parts of the camera on the left side of the LED screen. These include a segment of green tiles with a faux marble border and vertical wooden slats, all of which blur the lines between hard backdrop and LED.

“Who cares if I always have clean rectangles? Otherwise it looks like a news show and ‘Karamo’ isn’t,” said Connelly.

Surrounding the core of the set are two walls covered with segments of these green glass tiles with vertical metal rods and integrated lighting reflecting off the surfaces. Above and below the tilework is a velor curtain bordered by more integrated lighting elements to emphasize its fluid and perfectly imperfect flow.

Far out on either side of the set is a thick, wood-clad pillar with a tiled headpiece that serves as a sort of proscenium, giving the set an intimate feel with its own distinctive footprint.

Connelly was also able to rely on conversations with Brown to bring aspects of his personality into the room. The two have known each other for quite some time.


“He’s not a picky guy,” Connelly said, noting that one strategy he used was to keep the set clean by using no more essential materials than could be counted on one hand.

“To break that up and not make it as boring, I use light to give it other qualities,” Connolly explained, noting how the glass tile can go from a matte, solid look to a more glossy, glamorous look as it’s placed and is lit.

Likewise, gold and amber wood tones with light Carrara faux marble can appear rich and textured or smooth and modern, depending on how it’s used and how the light hits it – as does this velour.

Hues and lighting, particularly the unique shade of green, had to be carefully selected and tested to work with a variety of skin tones brought to viewers by the show’s host and often diverse guests.

Another important part of the “Karamo” set is the furniture on the set.

Originally, plans called for Brown to build a custom chair after the pilot was shot, but after trying several options, the host and Connelly finally decided to stick with the same one – which just so happens to be from HomeGoods.

For guests, Connolly designed a bespoke piece that can switch from a multi-person sofa style setup to a smaller loveseat or even two club chairs thanks to side arm elements that snap into place.

The blue hue of this piece was chosen as a happy middle ground between the green tiles and other colors on set, a decision meant to make it less visually competitive and different from the host chair. Similar bright shades of blue pop up here and there – including the printed maps Karamo uses to guide segments.

Connolly’s set also includes several open display shelves with carefully curated accessories.

While trying to figure out which item to put where, Connelly estimated that he brought back about four times as many items as were actually used.

Each was tested to see how it looked in front of the camera from all possible angles and with multiple lighting options where appropriate. Tests were conducted with people in front of each item – and how everything looked in wider settings.

Once the painstaking process of arranging was complete, the pieces were glued together to ensure they were always in exactly the same place, which is particularly important as the Karamo set will need to be dismantled and stored when another production uses the space .

When it comes to these art objects, Connolly has found that viewers often rely on them, despite how small they may seem.

“This element, generic as it may seem, is reliable. It’s something they can rely on every day and if it’s lost, someone will take notice,” he said.

In addition to creating the “Karamo” set itself, Connelly also worked with NBCUniversal to redesign the audience seating area shared with “Wilkos” that could also potentially be used in future programs produced in the space.

The update to this area included improving traffic flow and audience visibility, as well as more flexibility in presenting brand graphics in the space thanks to a new video panel.

While some of the crew will inevitably have to stay on the floor between the audience and the set, the renovations also included the creation of subtle spaces that allow the show to remove some crew members from the floor in front of the audience and give them a closer connection to the action. Set and also makes it easier to flip cameras around and shoot at the audience without worrying about too much technical equipment or crew members showing up.

This is key to connecting Brown to the studio audience for segments and allowing producers to capture reaction shots of the often dramatic information being talked about on stage.

Leave a Comment