‘Today’ drops ‘special edition’ billing

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When is a “special edition” not so special? When it lasts three weeks.

That’s apparently what NBC News decided — after continuously billing “Today” as “Coronavirus Pandemic” special editions since March 16, 2020, the show reverted back to its normal orange and white Rockefeller Center centric open April 6, 2020.

NBC first switched to blue and red toned graphics March 13, 2020, though an apparent technical glitch that day meant the announcer’s voiceover that normally reads the line “From NBC News, this is ‘Today'” before mentioning the co-anchor names, did not run.

That day also did not include the network’s animated COVID-19 themed imagery or “Coronavirus Pandemic” logo in the open, as it would starting the following Monday, but it’s not clear if that was due to the technical problems.

Saturday, March 14, 2020’s edition was not referenced as a “special edition.”

Starting March 16, however, the normal imagery of Rockefeller Plaza was replaced with muted (later changed to full color) coronavirus themed images in addition to having the networks coronavirus logo added and announcer changing to introducing the broadcast as a special edition.

In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, “Today” routinely used the red graphics in its teases that typically signify breaking news.

During the shows billed as “special editions,” the color red was used in most graphics as well, though the network started phasing them out in early April.

Since dropping the coronavirus special edition open, however, the show continues to lead with fullscreen graphics in the red, white and blue coronavirus color scheme giving the major developments — and extended coverage continues throughout the show.

This fullscreen graphic was previously shown on the 40-foot video wall in Studio 1A, typically along with an augmented reality version of the coronavirus logo, as a handheld camera floated in the space, but that type of shooting has mostly been eliminated in order to accommodate a reduced crew.