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.