New NBC News Now theme added

On Monday, March 13th, NBC News Now launched a new show, Stay Tuned Now with Gadi Schwartz. It’s the rare national primetime news show based in Los Angeles, airing daily on NBC News’ digital channel. It’s an extension of NBC News’ mobile-first, Gen Z news brand, Stay Tuned. The theme is composed by Matthew Sikora and Elizabeth Forde alongside creative direction by the production team, as well as Current Music’s Producer/Composer, Maddie Madsen. This is the third theme that Current Music has produced for NBC News Now.

NBC News Now has really developed its own identity. Their presentation style is a lot more laid back. Anchor Hallie Jackson regularly wears sneakers for example. The writing is very conversational. The graphics are bright and colorful. And the theme music is very high energy, incorporating lots of pop elements that aren’t traditionally associated with news music. For the Stay Tuned Now theme, anchor Gadi Schwartz suggested incorporating breakbeats.

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.”