Devlin Design Group

Black News Channel Network Debuts Devlin Design Group Scenic and Lighting Design

The debut of the Black News Channel, the nation’s only provider of 24/7 cable news programming created “by people of color for people of color”, is creating quite a buzz throughout the cable news industry. For this new African American network, BNC chose Devlin Design Group to design scenic storytelling environments that would create a deep connection with their target audience.

The main studio located in Tallahassee, Florida, is the ‘home-base’ for the network’s news, lifestyle and sports programming. Virtual sets allow the network to increase their coverage throughout BNC’s bureaus, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington D.C., New Orleans and Jacksonville.

“The set facilitates an intimate conversation between us and our viewers. We can use the variety of performance areas to do a deep dive into stories that reach and engage our urban audience. The design reflects BNC’s commitment to serve the African American community.” said Gary Wordlaw. Black News Channel, Vice President of News and Programming.

Capitalizing on information gathered from early focus groups creating the BNC brand, the contemporary design is truly a collaborative effort when it comes to shaping the wide array of performance areas in the main studio, the on-camera newsroom and the virtual environments.

“Capturing the culturally unique spirit of BNC was the inspiration in creating the flexible contemporary scenic storytelling environment and virtual sets. The team at BNC wanted something different that would relate to their audience and programming… not traditional news sets. We were excited for the opportunity to rise to the challenge.” said Kartik Dakshinamoorthy, Devlin Design Group, Vice President and Scenic Design Director.

The main stylized floating crescent desk is positioned at the center of the action. The bold curve mirrors the iconic shape of the BNC logo. The notion of transparency in news is reinforced by the use of clear curved plexiglass. Multiple color changing circular bands suspended above the main desk platform tie in surrounding performance areas. The floating rings add dimension to the entire studio. The intricate platform grounds the desk while adding additional visual interest with intricate curving textures and colors.

The working newsroom seen behind the talent creates a backdrop which implies energy. Flanking portrait 85” monitors leading to the newsroom add to the storytelling capability. The monitors can be used in the seated desk position or as an area for standups. The sliding doors leading to the newsroom can be opened to give the talent immediate access to news staff for big events. Three 85” monitors in the newsroom provide an added opportunity for more intimate storytelling.

The camera left walk and talk presentation area features a 15’ 11” x 6’ 9” seamless LED. The impressive stage is a perfect platform for an in-depth analysis of the day’s top stories. The camera right 14’ x 5’ 7” seamless LED creates a backdrop for the interview area. A moveable kiosk with an 85” portrait monitor adds to the versatility of the design. Both presentation areas have a number of color changing panels with the goal of being flexible enough to accommodate a variety of shows.

Two virtual sets add to the variety of storytelling environments. The visual feel of the main studio scenic blends with the virtual stages. Both sets are extremely flexible and include ‘virtual monitors’ to take viewers deeper into the story. The virtual environments can adapt to multiple shows with different formats including space for multi-person interviews.

Lighting fixtures for the sets were provided by Brightline Lighting.

BNC is an independent network, minority owned and operated. BNC’s mission is to provide intelligent programming that is informative, educational, entertaining, inspiring and empowering to its African American audience.

Devlin Design Group is one of the most influential set design and lighting design firms in the world. They are renowned for their iconic sets, expert scenic lighting and their commitment to design excellence, creativity, knowledge and innovation.

For more information, contact Diane ‘DiFi’ Fiolek.  248.875.9565


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Devlin Design Group
100 Easy Street
Unit #815
Carefree, AZ 85377


EJ Baker



Productive, proactive and passionate about executing the ‘never been done before’ describes EJ! Their belief that creative project managers are the stuff that holds creative teams together by helping to foster an environment where innovative ideas happen, is pure magic.

EJ is passionate about the diversity of their work history on a variety of high-profile projects. A gamer at heart they organized their own mini esports tournament which led to a gig at esports titan, Riot Games. It wasn’t long before the creators of VENN, the streaming network dedicated to gaming and pop culture, noticed and invited them to join the team in launching this ambitious project.

Having worked from ‘the client side’ perspective of scenic design projects, DDG clients benefit from EJ’s magical skills — facilitating collaboration and brainstorming sessions, setting realistic deadlines, keeping projects on track and on budget. They know how to juggle all the moving parts of a scenic project, anticipate challenges and address them before they become problems.

What does downtime look like for this dynamo? How about being one of Brooklyn’s top roller derby stars for starters. EJ’s opinion carries lots of weight around DDG — and weightlifting circles as an Olympic coach and competitor. Throw in training for the next marathon, watch EJ run circles around the competition.

Bruce Aleksander



With an interest in photography, theatre and film that goes back to childhood, Bruce had his first camera at age 6, shot his first film at 13, and was lighting performances at 14. Long before lighting and production were his profession, they were his hobbies. Today they remain one of his passions.

Bruce is an accomplished and creative lighting consultant for multi-camera television production. He learned the fundamentals of lighting from the pioneers of television lighting including Imero Fiorentino, Bill Klages and George Spiro Dibie. From that base, Bruce has gone on to win recognition for his work, including Emmy and Telly Awards, PROMAX Gold, Set of the Year and the Illuminating Engineering Society’s international award.

His projects include news studios, talk shows, a national network series, network remote production, promos, commercials, sports, telethons, theatre, symphony orchestra broadcasts, and cultural events. Bruce shares his extensive knowledge and vast experience by continuing to publish articles about lighting design and the latest in lighting technology.  

Bruce lives in Seattle where he enjoys his other passions, the local art scene, hiking, travel and getting together with friends.


Diane Fiolek “DIFI”



DiFi is legendary in the TV biz for her breakthrough designs. A Michigander happily transplanted to Florida’s Gulf Coast, she’s taken home some of the industry’s most prestigious honors including 30+ Emmys, PROMAX awards, Set of the Year and Telly Awards. A strategic thinker, DiFi delights DDG’s clients with multiple solutions for their every design challenge

Being nimble is critical when dealing with today’s brands across many touchpoints. Not only well versed in set design, she also is a seasoned animation and graphics pro. DiFi adds special skills and knowledge to Team DDG’s creative toolbox and will put all those outstanding creative talents to work on your project.

A classical pianist who’s as comfortable with Bach and Brahms as she is with generating new and exciting designs, her branding prowess is perhaps matched only by her talents in the kitchen, much to the appreciation of her husband and friends! And she gets as much pleasure from being around positive people as she does wading into brainstorming sessions with seasoned professionals.

Diane graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, in addition to completion of courses in interior design and technical drawing at Michigan State University. DiFi is well versed in the Adobe suite and has completed VIZrt training.

Kartik Dakshinamoorthy



Kartik is Team DDG’s inspirational Spirit Leader. He has an exceptional ability to collect input from seemingly disparate sources, pull it all together and create designs that amaze clients and engage audiences. He says his most creative time of day is sometime after 2 am when distractions are at a minimum and his full creative energies are at their zenith.

Kartik grew up in India on a road to become a heart surgeon. As a college student he sought balance in his world by back-packing through India, a path that led him to turn down a full scholarship to one of India’s most prestigious medical schools and follow his creative passions… much to the delight of Team DDG clients around the world.

With over 20 years at DDG, Kartik has led the team in some impressive wins. His award count includes a dozen Emmys, nine Set of the Year trophies, eight PROMAX Gold Awards, and a Telly Award.

Kartik finds balance through his life with his amazing wife and daughter. His passion is fueled by the desire to be the very best… a goal fulfilled with every one of Team DDG’s custom set designs. Kartik’s eyes light up when someone says…“I know this isn’t possible, but what if…” That is the precise moment Kartik begins crafting the design that transforms their ideas into stunning reality

Kartik is a stickler for detail and personally oversees all aspects of the building process to ensure that the construction is kept at a high standard, meets the intent of the project design, and comes in on budget and on time.

Kartik pursued his education beginning at the prestigious Sir. JJ School of Architecture and merited a Bachelor of Architecture, an India Gold Medalist, immediately followed with a Master of Architecture from the University of Arizona.

Dan Devlin



Dan is the inspirational chieftain of Team DDG’s creative geniuses. He is a team building ‘Think-Meister’ who lives the founding principles he used to establish the company more than 30 years ago – Creativity, Knowledge, and Innovation. These principles form the keystone of DDG’s success in captivating audiences around the world through award winning, stunning, and technologically advanced scenic storytelling environments.

A Jersey boy who spent his formative years in Arizona, Dan’s creativity is fueled by his passions: mountain biking, travelling and the pursuit of excellence. When not at his desk overlooking the Sonoran Desert, you can find him in Huatulco Mexico, Sandpoint Idaho, or the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, traversing high country trails on a mountain bike. These soul replenishing rides are bounded by discipline but nourish unbridled creativity.

The inspiration from these frequent adventures through breath-taking scenery, coupled with a passion for technological expertise, is the blend that produces set designs that have been awarded Set of the Year nine times, the PROMAX Gold Award for a record breaking eight out of nine years, and more than two dozen Emmy Awards. 

Dan brings a competitive edge to all he does. He leads Team DDG in the process of identifying your expectations for a winning project outcome. He firmly believes, if you can imagine it – you can create it!

Dan earned both a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and a Master of Architecture from Arizona State University.