Throughout the years the graphics for ABC News Special Reports were regularly updated to fit in with the rest of the ABC News brand. The music however stayed the same. Finally in 2013, after much of ABC News had undergone a transformation with new music, the Special Report theme was updated as well. It’s composed by DreamArtists Studios.DreamArtists Studios - ABC News Special Report theme
Themes from ‘Other’
For the two decades after the 1964 Winter Games, ABC made the Olympics a staple of their network and invented the way it is still televised today. The torch has since been passed to NBC which adopted many of the stylistic elements ABC pioneered, including the theme music. Bugler’s Dream by Leo Arnaud is synonymous with the Olympic Games because it has been used since the 1960’s by the network that has the broadcasting rights. For their coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, ABC turned to DreamArtists Studios to capture the Olympic spirit. Given their background as concert orchestral composers, this was an assignment that played to their strengths. DreamArtists scored an Olympic theme package with an orchestra consisting of a massive brass section. There was, in fact, enough brass to fill 4 concert orchestras. Remarkably the theme was composed in only 24 hours. The result is a theme that is edgy and driving, with more percussion than Olympic themes at the other networks. The music reflects the truly grand scale of this world event.DreamArtists Studios - ABC Olympics theme
These are two of the tags that are used at the end of ABC News broadcasts. On air the music is accompanied by a voice-over saying: “More Americans choose ABC News to see the whole picture.” ABC went for a big and bold sound with a touch of cool, a formula that put GMA in the #1 spot.DreamArtists Studios - ABC News tag 1
In version 2 you might note that the end crescendo sounds like a TV turning off which is done by using reverse effects. It symbolizes that ABC News is the complete news source — period.DreamArtists Studios - ABC News tag 2
This year ABC launched a new promotional campaign with the tag line “see the whole picture”. This image, which stresses relevance, is in response to the whirlwind of information coming at us these days. ABC News defines its mission to help us make sense of it all. The promos were shot with more a commercial-like feel using dramatic images of the ABC News team in stride. DreamArtists Studios – who did an incredibly successful branding campaign for ABC in 2008 that later turned into the 20/20 theme – was commissioned to compose the accompanying music. The music reflects the more contemporary feel of the promo.DreamArtists Studios - See the Whole Picture promo
This new election theme package (the “Rally” package) was composed by the CCO and Founder of DreamArtists Studios, Matthew Kajcienski. The package was launched on the evening of November 2nd, 2010 for the election special hosted by ABC anchors Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos. ABC wanted something “big, bold, fresh, urgent, and exciting” for the new election season leading up to 2012.DreamArtists Studios - Vote 2010 theme
Focus Earth is a weekly newscast focussing on environmental and energy issues. It is produced by ABC News but not many people are aware of it. That’s because it airs on Discovery’s “Planet Green” channel, which is not available in all parts of the country. The theme is composed by DreamArtists Studios.DreamArtists Studios - Focus Earth
Although there was also a more traditional sounding election theme, this piece of music is most closely associated with ABC’s coverage of the 2008 election. ABC still uses this music today as a secondary theme for its election coverage and World News. However, to be completely factual: this theme is part of VideoHelper’s library (it’s on disc 29 and called Presidential Persuasion) but ABC uses a custom version that sounds less threatening and less aggressive. The custom version has newer strings and the percussion is slightly different. The volume of the percussion was reduced and it was played straight through, not looped like in the library version. The current headline bed for World News is derived from the custom version of this theme.VideoHelper - Presidential Persuasion
This is the variation of the ABC News Special Report theme that was occasionally used for ABC’s coverage of the war with Iraq. ABC made a couple of major blunders. On March 19th, the day President Bush’s deadline for Saddam expired, Peter Jennings was AWOL when the war began. He was reportedly at a dinner party. ABC News broke into regular programming later than the competition (some ABC affiliates broke in before the network), first with Chris Wallace anchoring and then a few embarrassing minutes later, Peter Jennings. But the network had told affiliates that their coverage would continue through the 11 pm hour; thus, the late local news would be scrapped. Many stations sent their crews home. A few minutes before 11 pm, however, ABC News decided to wrap up their coverage. They, however, failed to tell affiliates. So when Peter Jennings signed off for the night, affiliates were caught completely off guard. Many were left were with minutes of dead air only to put together a badly produced newscast. That does not happen often!Edd Kalehoff - War with Iraq theme
In 1998 both Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw came out with books that reflected on the century that was about to end. Dan Rather published his book a year later. The books were a success and were followed up. Peter Jennings, in 2002, co-authored In Search of America. That book was adapted to a five part TV series. To accompany the TV program Stephen Arnold, composed this piece of theme music.Stephen Arnold Music - In Search of America theme
This music has been used by ABC on some very sad occasions. It was used on GMA and World News Tonight the day after lead anchor Peter Jennings died in 2005. It was also used on the 9/11 anniversary coverage in 2002 and 2003. While the emotionally moving music was appropriate for these occasions, it wasn’t intended to be used on air. It is an expanded version of the ABC World News theme played by a concert orchestra. Gary Anderson of Score Productions arranged and orchestrated the work. He also conducted the Nashville orchestra playing the music. It was recorded in 2001. In an interview with BMI, Score Productions president Bob Israel said that the suite, “has a very strong American identity: it’s modal, neither major nor minor in origin, and lends itself perfectly to an American aesthetic known in concert circles through the music of Aaron Copeland and Roy Harris, which conjures up images of broad vistas of the American landscape. Even in its original form, it is a purely American sound. It’s not atonal or abstract, but emotional.”Score Productions - An American Dream
Courtesy of the Museum of Television Production Music.
This is the piece of music that is currently used after each ABC News program to remind us that more and more people are watching ABC News. A fifteen-second version of this wonderful piece of music is used in alternation with this one to promote the “50 States, One Nation, One Year” campaign. What’s that? Essentially that is World News Tonight and Good Morning America going on the road to broadcast from a particular state and do a feature report about that state. The music is composed by VideoHelper.VideoHelper - Show close
To celebrate the start of the year 2000, ABC News sent reporters to notable places in every time zone to cover New Years celebrations. It was a huge operation, with Peter Jennings anchoring for 25 straight hours, that won critical acclaim. They did not attempt to do this again a year later, but created a smaller and more budget-friendly version of this program on New Year’s Eve 2002. This theme was used for these programs. However, it perhaps became most famous as the theme for most of ABC’s election coverage in 2000. Since then, it has been brought back occasionally, such as for the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009.
This theme was originally not composed for ABC but for Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The Epcot attraction uses it for their presentation called “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth”. Of course Epcot and ABC-TV are owned by the same company, Walt Disney, so it is not unusual that they share resources. This theme is composed by Gavin Greenaway, who won an Emmy for it.Gavin Greenaway - IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth (Meaning)
“More and more Americans get their news from ABC News, than from any other source,” according to the slogan of ABC News. NBC News, interestingly enough, claims more Americans watch NBC News than any other news organization “in the world”. Two very similar slogans that seemingly can’t be both correct. So who’s right? Perhaps both. NBC has the top rated network broadcasts and a cable news outlet which ABC does not have. This means a lot of people on a daily basis will see an NBC News broadcast. However, ABC claims more people get their news from ABC. And you can get your news by other means than television. As it so happens, ABC owns a lot of radio stations and has an extensive network of affiliated stations all airing the ABC Radio News. Add those numbers to the TV ratings and website visits and that number will likely be higher than the amount of people getting their news from NBC on TV, radio and the web combined.
Day One did not do too well in the ratings. Before they cancelled the program, ABC made one last attempt to save the program. They brought on board star anchor Diane Sawyer. When she debuted on the program, this theme, an update of the first theme, started being used. These slight changes could, however, not increase the ratings. Day One was soon afterward cancelled.Score Productions - Day One theme
Turning Point was an ABC news magazine that would feature one topic, such as a historical event of significance. It was anchored by alternating stars: Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer or Forrest Sawyer. The program ran from 1994 to 1997. After 1997 it would continue on in the form of irregular specials, but for all intents and purposes, it pretty much disappeared. This theme is composed by Bill Conti, who also composed the Prime Time Live theme.Bill Conti - Turning Point theme