Themes from ‘Other’

“ABC News Live” Current Theme

ABC News Live is a 24/7 streaming news service that launched in 2018. For their theme music, they turned to Matthew Kajcienski. In terms of creative direction, ABC had asked for something forward-thinking, a sound that felt large/important, and did not use traditional instrumentation. Kajcienski explains his approach: “I decided to approach the theme’s foundation more from the angle of sound design, using sustained/shifting colors, large sweeps, and musical hooks that propelled the ear in the foreground. I also created a mnemonic specific to ABC News Live to differentiate the streaming network from its ABC News counterpart.” An interesting thing to note is how large the session file was with over 120 unique electronic sound layers (“instruments”) that were used to make up the theme’s diverse color palette.

Matthew Kajcienski – ABC News Live theme

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“Would You Fall For That?” Theme

Would You Fall For That? was a hybrid news and entertainment show that aired in primetime during the summer of 2013 and was produced by ABC News. Its premise was to test people’s gullibility in various situations. For example, if you stepped into an elevator and everyone was facing the back instead of the doors as usual, would you comply with what is apparently the norm in that specific elevator? Research indicates you would and the show’s experiment proved it to viewers. Nick Watt hosted. The theme is by DreamArtists Music. Freemdom Bremner is the vocalist.

DreamArtists Music – Would You Fall For That? theme

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“The Lookout” Theme

The Lookout is a consumer-oriented show that uses the hidden camera as a tool to uncover scams and ripoffs. As a primetime news magazine, it is produced by the Nightline team and was originally to be called Nightline: Two Truths and a Lie. Nightline’s anchors serve as the principal reporters for the show. Stylistically The Lookout is a big departure from other news magazines. Its stories are accompanied by lots of music in different styles that sometimes emphasize the playful and quirky sides of whatever is being told. For the opening theme music, DreamArtists Music was told in its creative brief to have fun with it. And they did. The result is a theme that doesn’t fit the traditional news music genre and emphasizes The Lookout’s ‘differentness’.

DreamArtists Music – The Lookout theme

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“ABC News Special Report” 2013 – 2020 Theme

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 Music.

DreamArtists Music – ABC News Special Report theme

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“ABC Olympics” 2012 Theme

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 Music 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 Music – ABC Olympics theme

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ABC News Current Tags

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 Music – 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 Music – ABC News tag 2

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“See the Whole Picture” Branding Promo

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 Music — 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 Music – See the Whole Picture promo

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“Focus Earth with Bob Woodruff” Theme

Focus Earth was 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 Music.

DreamArtists Music – Focus Earth theme

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“In Search of America” 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

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“An American Dream” (ABC News Theme)

This orchestral rendition of the ABC News theme has been used by the network 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.

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“More Americans get their news from…” Music

This is the piece of music that was used in the early 2000s 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

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“ABC 2000” Theme

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 ABC’s coverage of the historic 2000 election. 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

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ABC News 1999 – 2001 tags

“More and more Americans get their news from ABC News, than from any other source,” according to the voice over that accompanied these tags. They played at the end of every ABC News broadcast.

Unknown – ABC News tag A

Unknown – ABC News tag B

Unknown – ABC News tag C

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“ABC News Radio” Current Theme

This is the sounder used for the hourly news updates from ABC News Radio since 1995. ABC’s newscasts are fed to more than 2,000 stations across the nation. ABC News actually produces multiple hourly news updates. This theme is used on the information network, which consists of mainly talk radio stations. These newscasts go more in depth and have more global news compared to the newscasts produced for the entertainment and fm networks.

Score Productions – ABC News Radio theme

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“Turning Point” 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

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