ABC News (like the ABC Sports division in its heyday) has become known for consistency with regard to its themes. When a new theme is commissioned, it is usually a newly recorded and slightly modernized version of the old theme. In those cases where they really start from scratch, the new theme contains many elements from the old theme. It is a subtle message that conveys to the audience that ABC News is with the times, yet builds on an impressive legacy. As you can hear, this version of the Viewpoint theme is mostly a re-recording of the classic Viewpoint theme.Score Productions - Viewpoint theme
Themes from ‘Score Productions’
“This is an ABC News Special Report.” Whenever breaking news warrants an interruption of regularly scheduled programming, this theme is used. While it is solemn and conveys both importance and urgency, it does not scream hype and sensationalism. It thereby sets the right tone for the coverage that was lead by anchors such as Peter Jennings, Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer.Score Productions - Special Report theme
“From ABC News around the world and into your home, the stories that touch your life. With Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters, this is 20/20.” That’s how every edition of 20/20 in the 90′s started. For this version of the 20/20 theme, all whooshes and pows known to man were pulled out. Network news, generally speaking, has gone easy on sound effects but cable news certainly has has not. Almost all graphics and transitions are accompanied by a woosh or other sound effect. That’s what gives it the cable news feel. Why do they do it? Cable news channels feel it makes them look and sound more urgent and exciting – like something big is going on – which keeps viewers tuned in.Score Productions - 20/20 theme
In 1989 the old theme was in dire need of an update. This is how that update sounded. Most viewers will have noticed that the headlines at the beginning of the broadcast have gotten much longer in recent years. The full opening sequence to the evening newscasts usually lasts at least 40 seconds today, whereas just a decade ago it lasted 20 seconds or so.
Nightline started out as a series of special reports to update viewers late at night on the Iranian hostage crisis. Those special reports were called “America Held Hostage” and anchored by Frank Reynolds, lead anchor of World News Tonight. But he did not like doing double duty and Ted Koppel started substituting regularly. When the program officially debuted as Nightline, Ted Koppel was officially the anchor. The program was known for covering just one topic per broadcast, which allowed it to go in depth like no other news program on network television. This theme is very cool. The first minute is the topic cue, followed by the full theme. It is composed by Score Productions and was used from 1984 to at least 1987.Score Productions - Nightline theme
This is the theme used for a few years on the long running ABC News documentary series titled Closeup. The first documentary that ran under the Closeup moniker aired in 1973. This theme was used at least from 1982 until 1987 but it may have been used before or after that time.Score Productions - Closeup theme
You are listening to the full World News This Morning theme. This program has had a variety of anchors since its debut in 1982, including Steve Bell, Anderson Cooper and Paula Zahn. This theme was used on the first broadcast and on the last broadcast of World News This Morning. However, for about a year they used the World News Now theme. In 1992, after World News Now debuted, production of the two newscasts was merged. World News This Morning was anchored by the same people in the same laid back style. However, the network wanted to differentiate the two. So World News This Morning started using their old theme again and anchors adressed their audience in a more formal way. Without a doubt the theme is a wonderful variation on the classic ABC News theme. In 2006 it was replaced with America This Morning which uses a different theme.Score Productions - World News This Morning theme
Here’s a bumper that was used even in the latter days of World News This Morning.Score Productions - World News This Morning theme
In 1981 This Week hit the airwaves as ABC’s answer to NBC’s Meet the Press and as successor to Issues and Answers. Its moderator was David Brinkley who left longtime employer NBC News because he was forced to anchor one of NBC’s many low rated news magazines. At ABC, Brinkley revitalized Sunday morning public affairs programs by adding a panel: the roundtable. It provided a unique look at the news of the week with educated debate. Furthermore, it made public affairs programming accessible to the average Joe by always doing a setup piece before the interview. Due to this and Brinkley’s talent, the program was very successful. Brinkley stepped down as moderator in 1996 but continued to provide regular commentary until 1997. He died in 2003.Score Productions - This Week theme
This program was, as are most other ABC News programs, created by Roone Arledge. It utilized the town hall format with a panel of experts being asked questions by an audience consisting of regular people. It’s the job of the moderator to keep order and the discussion lively. Many ABC News personalities, including Peter Jennings, Geraldo Rivera and Ted Koppel, have been moderators at one time or another. The program always aired in the form of a special and never had a regular timeslot.Score Productions - Viewpoint theme
The 1978 theme music package is the first to contain the now famous ABC News signature. In May of 1977 Roone Arledge took over control of ABC News, at the time the perennial and distant third in the ratings, and created such programs as World News Tonight, 20/20, Nightline and later This Week with David Brinkley and PrimeTime Live. World News Tonight was the first evening news program to use real theme music. This was Arledge’s doing. The first five years of WNT featured an anchor trio. Frank Reynolds (father of former ABC correspondent, Dean) was the lead anchor and based in Washington, DC Max Robinson, the first black network anchor, in Chicago anchored other national news. Finally, Peter Jennings in London anchored international news. With a year of its debut, the program made a remarkable leap in ratings and fortune when it passed NBC Nightly News with John Chancellor in the Nielsens. When Frank Reynolds died in 1983 of cancer, the program was relaunched with one anchor. After Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Roger Mudd and Ted Koppel passed on the job, it was given to Peter Jennings. This theme, by Bob Israel of Score Productions, is the orchestral version on which the current is based.Score Productions - World News Tonight theme
Here’s the version of the theme that was used for years on ABC News Radio.Score Productions - ABC News Radio theme
In June of 1978, Roone Arledge’s first news magazine hit the airwaves. It was called 20/20 and created to compete with 60 Minutes, the show that originated the genre. While Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters may be most closely associated with the early days of the program, they were not the original anchors. Harold Hayes and Robert Hughes anchored the first show. But that first edition was nothing short of a disaster and they were quickly replaced. The show featured Jimmy Carter and Walter Cronkite represented by puppets doing short comical bits. Critics were not kind when writing their reviews. As a result, Downs took on the role of host on the second show as Hayes and Hughes were fired. Walters joined him in 1981 as something slightly less than a co-anchor, though she officially became his equal three years later. This reunited a duo that had already anchored together on NBC’s Today from 1964 to 1971.
The first broadcast of 20/20 used an unknown theme without the ABC News signature, which would debut a month later on the new World News Tonight. The rest of the first season they used the electronic World News Tonight theme. In 1979 they started using their own theme, which they would use for many years to come.Score Productions - 20/20 theme
This is the teletype theme that was used at ABC News for various programs: Nightline, 20/20 and most famously, World News Tonight. In 1981 World News Tonight stopped using this theme as its main theme, but ABC used it until well in the 1990′s for News Briefs, the 30, 60 or 90-second newscasts that would air during entertainment programs. News briefs have now mostly dissapeared from the network with the exception of one edition. A 30-second News Brief is still produced each day a few minutes before 3 pm EST, though not all stations carry it. However it’s mostly a promo for World News. In this day and age, news is rapidly available on the internet and there really isn’t much need for short news summaries anymore.Score Productions - World News Tonight theme