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Chicago Tonight Set Gets A Makeover

The new "winter" nighttime backdrop shot from the roof of the Gleacher Center.Viewers who pay close attention while watching Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm will notice a change of scenery. We’ve installed two new backdrops on the set: one behind Host Phil Ponce, and the other behind the guests at our news desk.

We wanted pictures that captured Chicago but hadn’t been over-used. Once we decided on the specific city locations, we took hundreds of pictures as the sun set. The plan? To use the darker backdrop now for the winter, and then transition to the lighter, summer backdrop during daylight savings.

The spot chosen for the “home” location behind Phil was from the roof of the Gleacher CenterChicago Tonight’s art director Linda Fox was on location with photographer Sharon Hoogstraten for the shoot.

“She shot hundreds of pictures between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm,” said Fox. “We wanted to see how the sky changed as the sun went down, and how it affected the buildings. As the lights came on in the buildings, it changed the scene.”

The photograph for the news window was shot from a public spot at Wolf Point.

“We chose about 20 photos to bring back and look at, and I mocked them up into Photoshop into the window with Phil in front of it to see what it would look like,” said Fox. The backdrop behind the news desk was shot from Wolf Point. Here, the nighttime version is rolled halfway up.

The final prints were then sent to a local company to make into large, backlit installations for the set.

The two shots (dark and light) are in each window at the home and news locations in our studios. There’s a roller system that the crew uses so the one that is not in use is rolled up – until the season changes.

On Friday, our engineers and floor crew installed and tested out the new set. View a behind-the-scenes photo gallery.

And watch Chicago Tonight on Tuesday at 7:00 pm to see the new backlit vinyl, shot from Wolf Point, behind our news location on set!

How do you like our new backdrops? Post your comments below or sound off on our discussion board!