Fresh new look, lots of new themes!

I’m excited to launch a complete redesign of Network News Music! The site has been online for 21 years and has had the same basic layout for the past ten. But trends in web design have changed radically in that time. With a fresh new look, there is more room for pictures. And text is easier to read thanks to a larger font and more white space. I’ll be tweaking some things in the weeks and probably months to come, as I am not yet completely satisfied. Feel free to let me know what you like or dislike.

Of course new music has also been added. The new theme for CBS Mornings by Antfood has been added, both the weekday and Saturday editions. It incorporates the Sunday Morning theme, Abblasen, thereby (again) connecting the weekday show to the beloved Sunday edition.

Past incarnations

Thanks to my friend Terry Wilkie from the Museum of Television Production Music I am able to add themes from past incarnations of CBS’s morning show. The theme from the short-lived 1987 Morning Program, the first CBS This Morning theme from 1987 and an additional track from CBS This Morning’s 1996 theme by the late Peter Fish.

Some other recognizable themes have also been added to the archive. The new CBS News Special Report theme, the opening that Good Morning America used from 2000 to 2003 by NJJ Music, the Face the Nation theme from 2015 after Bob Schieffer left, the NBC News at Sunrise theme from 1983 and Shelly Palmer’s theme for The News with Brian Williams, shown on MSNBC starting in 1996. As always, thanks for stopping by!

New theme: NBC News Daily

NBC News Daily is a new daytime newscast that replaced the long-running soap opera Days Of Our Lives on the NBC schedule. Their EDM-based theme is produced by Current Music.

There’s an interesting backstory. Current Music had composed an entire package for the new show. In the days before the launch, NBC replaced the music originally intended as the main theme with a different cut from the package. The “Pop Culture” variation became the new main theme. This last minute change worked out perfectly. You can listen to both versions.

Listen to the Top Story w/Tom Llamas theme

Top Story w/Tom Llamas is the hour-long primetime news show on NBC News’ streaming service, NBC News Now. The show has a theme that’s edgy, intense and rhythmic. It’s produced by Current Music with composers Matthew Sikora and Elizabeth Forde. You can listen to it here.

Current Music was founded in 2013. In recent years they have produced theme music packages for NBC Sports and Fox Sports among many others.

Two themes that represent the musical identity of CBS News

Musically speaking, CBS News has found its identity in the last few years. Their themes are usually based around a lush, orchestral sound with crescendos and lots of emotion. That is layered on top of very contemporary drum rhythms and deliberately inorganic sounds that could have come straight out of the latest EDM track. And of course, most shows start with the now famous CBS News tritone.

I’ve added two CBS News themes to this website that represent that identity well. The first is the current theme for the CBS Evening News. It is composed by Joel Beckerman of Man Made Music. The other one is the theme used on election night 2020, composed by Nick Murray on behalf of MIBE Music.

To explain the process of composing the CBS election theme, Murray has posted a video on his very informative YouTube channel. It’s almost ninety minutes in length but well worth your time if you want to gain more understanding of how television music is produced. One of the highlights is that he lets you hear the difference between the demo version which features midi only and the final version which has live instruments. The difference is not as big as I would have expected. He dissects the music layer by layer, letting you hear in isolation the very spacey synths that give the theme its contemporary feeling.

It’s also an entertaining watch. At one point Murray refers to a section of the theme that was played over and over by CBS. “Bars 13 to 21,” he said, “that’s going to buy me a new car nine months from now when ASCAP comes out.”

World News Tonight returns to its roots

World News Tonight had quite a surprise last night for its viewers. It opened with the classic theme, that was used from 1978 until 2012. It’s part of a major overhaul for the ABC newscast, that has been the most watched show on all of television as of late. The broadcast also premiered new graphics and finally returned to the renovated TV-3 studio which is its longtime home.

The version of the theme they are using is somewhat new. It’s not the same version as was used before 2012. Though it is not exactly new either. It’s a version that was recorded in 2002 by Edd Kalehoff but was not used at the time. You can listen to it here. For the opening headlines, World News Tonight still uses a cut from the previous package by Remote Control Productions.

I have some personal history with this theme. Through my sources I had obtained a copy of this theme back in 2002. To find out why it was not being used, I had contacted some people to find out more information on it. That was quickly met with an email and phone call from ABC’s legal department. Being a teenager at the time, that scared me quite a bit. But they couldn’t be more nice and supportive. They wanted me to know that I had to be careful in not hurting their interests. I took that to mean (don’t remember if they said it explicitly) they did not want me to post something which had not aired first. So I, of course, did not. It’s amazing that almost twenty years later, the theme does finally make it to air.

Evening newscasts returning to a classic theme from its past is not new. In 2011 the CBS Evening News went back to their 1987 theme.

It is a testament to the greatness of Edd Kalehoff as a composer. Though he did not compose the original theme (it’s by Robert Israel), all of the versions since the late nineties have been produced by him. That ABC returned to a version he composed years ago and not a new version, shows his music stands the test of time.