I think live newsroom backdrops can be quite distracting sometimes. Looking at what some other European broadcasters are doing these days, I'm not sure that's the direction ITV News wants to be heading in?
I'm going to add my two pennies' worth into this debate, and say that I actually find the current fake newsroom backdrop quite creepy; the obviously-CGI empty chairs bug me particularly, especially in HD.
However, if they are to continue with that style of backdrop, I think that it could be greatly improved by taking some inspiration from foreign networks. For example, VTM in Belgium had a refresh recently: their new look makes heavy use of a virtual newsroom, which looks far more realistic than ITV's current backdrop: crucially, VTM's virtual newsroom backdrop features real people green-screened in, which I think is the key to making it look more like an actual newsroom, and less like something that's been abandoned after an apocalypse. Anyway, you can see it all in the video below:
Of course, if I had any say in things, we'd have the London skyline brought back, for News at Ten if nothing else. Still, we wouldn't want to be accused of being London-centric, would we?
Now that news presentation has kind of done a complete 180 and gone back to the simplicity of 20+ years ago it would be easier to do a real set, but obviously give them much less flexibility when it comes for using it outside of news. Who knows - could be an election and referendum next year?
I reckon we could have a whole other discussion about this. As I've said in other threads, I do think we are far too conservative where news pres is concerned. The rest of the continent is innovating, but we just seem to be stuck in a rut. My pet theory is that after the perhaps OTT innovations and gimmicks we saw everywhere in the mid-2000s, the powers that be have been scared to rock the boat too much, out of fear of losing viewers; meanwhile, said gimmicks were never really (to my knowledge) a thing on the continent, hence why broadcasters there are less afraid to innovate.