'Stephanopoulos' moves studio
EmptyCORRECTED 10:07 p.m. PT April 16, 2008
WASHINGTON -- ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" is about to get a brand-new address.
The longtime staple of the weekend public-affairs show circuit will this Sunday permanently move from ABC News's DeSales Street studios. It's bound for one of the multimedia spaces at the Newseum, the recently opened interactive museum devoted to journalism.
ABC is one of the major sponsors of the Newseum, which opened this month across from the National Mall and a stone's throw from the Capitol building. For the past several weeks, ABC News has been moving the set and testing in preparation for the premiere. It's one of several programs on different networks that will air from the Newseum, including National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation." The first "This Week," two days before the Pennsylvania primary, will have as a guest Republican presidential nominee John McCain.
The traditional roundtable will make the move, as will the "This Week" logos. The studio looks like any other, except that it's tucked away in a corner of the museum near the 9/11 exhibit and one of the mangled TV towers from the World Trade Center that is on display here. There's also a small group of seats above the studio for an audience, which will be open to people who want to get up early to see the show produced live.
The feel is very much like ABC's "Good Morning America" studios overlooking Times Square in Manhattan or NBC's "Today" set in Rockefeller Center. But the big selling point for Stephanopouloswas the view, which overlooks the National Gallery of Art and looking down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.
"You really have the feeling that you're not in a basement studio somewhere but you're in the middle of the Capitol," Stephanopoulos said. There's also an outside balcony that shows a great view and will also be used for some segments.
But the vista, where the Capitol will be Stephanopoulos' shoulder, is only one way that "This Week" will use the Newseum setting. There's a memorial to the journalists who have been killed in the line of duty, which will serve every Sunday as the setting for the show's "In Memoriam" segment. Stephanopoulos will run during a commercial break from the studio to that part of the museum.
There's also an auditorium that the show's producers hope can be used occasionally for town hall-style meetings. Stephanopoulos said that it's challenging but he enjoyed the town-hall style meeting that "This Week" did in New Hampshire.
"We'll go to various exhibits if it works and is connected to the story," he said. "It's a great way to freshen up the show."
Although "This Week" will say goodbye to its old studio -- the show's offices and the rest of the Washington Bureau will remain at DeSales Street -- the famous catered breakfast buffet will remain. From now on, however, it will be assembled by The Source, the new restaurant attached to the Newseum by famed chef Wolfgang Puck. The "This Week" green room food and drink, which draws raves from the high-powered guests every Sunday, won't change too much.
"(Former Sen.) Patrick Moynihan loved it because they would all have three or four cocktails," Stephanopoulos remembered.