Themes from ‘ABC News’

“Good Afternoon America” Theme Song


Good Afternoon America was a GMA spinoff that aired for two months in the summer of 2012 on ABC’s daytime schedule. It was hosted by GMA’s news anchor Josh Elliot and its lifestyle anchor Lara Spencer. Good Afternoon America was taped each morning right after GMA in the upstairs studio of the Times Square Studios from which GMA originates. The show featured lighter fare like discussions about celebrities in the news, a little like ABC’s The View. A studio audience was present for each show. The distinctive theme song was written and performed by the popular country music band Little Big Town. On one of the shows, they performed the theme live.

Little Big Town - Good Afternoon America

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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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“Good Morning America” 2012 – 2015 Theme


GMA wanted a new theme that sounded “hipper and fresher” but was still “thoughtful and interesting” to reflect the show’s increased emphasis on lifestyle and entertainment. For the third time in a row they turned to DreamArtists Music. Principal composer Matthew Kajcienski explains the challenge in composing this new theme: “You want your demographics to be able to hook into it, rather than targeting a specific group while alienating others – and just create something cool. The key here was to keep the thematic material subtle but still give it a sound that could be identified easily through texture, orchestration, and most importantly a unique and memorable percussion track.” Given these demands, the process of composing the theme was different than usual as Kajcienski explains: “We actually began by composing the percussion track first as it had to hold interest completely on its own before adding the harmonic elements. Once we had that, we dashed the track with some melodic/harmonic color and kept things simple. As the new graphics have its own ‘hook’, the music had to in essence be the sonic representation of that.” The theme is part of an extended package that gives GMA’s rejoins and breaks a modern pop feel.

DreamArtists Music - Good Morning America theme

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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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“This Week” 2012 – 2013 Theme


Since George Stephanopoulos took back the reins of This Week, the well-received “Your Voice, Your Vote” theme was slightly altered to be used as the new theme for This Week. Former World News anchor Charles Gibson provides the voiceover that introduces Stephanopoulos each sunday morning. “Your Voice, Your Vote” is how ABC brands its election coverage for this election year. In prior years their coverage had simply been titled “Vote (fill-in-the-year)”. Along with a new name and new graphics a new theme was needed and so ABC turned once again to DreamArtists Music. This new theme is a new arrangement of the “Vote 2010” theme — a bit more driving and slightly less melodic. This was then spun out into an extensive new package including tracks of various moods and lengths.

DreamArtists Music - Your Voice, Your Vote theme

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“This Week” 2011 Theme


When Christiane Amanpour debuted on This Week, the program was relaunched with new theme music from trumpeter Chris Botti. But Amanpour’s tenure wasn’t an immediate hit with viewers and so changes were made. ABC in particular felt that the Botti theme was too reflective and soft for the “we get to the bottom of it” feel of the show. So they wanted a theme with a bold, exciting yet traditional sound reminiscent of the Brinkley days. ABC asked DreamArtists Music to take their Vote 2010 theme as an inspirational start. The result was a sort of hybrid theme. Although you might think the thematic material is a combination of several ABC motifs from various eras, it sticks mainly to unique elements that DreamArtists Music composed in combination with thematic snippets taken from the original ABC News theme. The result was a theme made up of a fanfare-like open, then a series of building plateaus each featuring a different musical motif, then finally a bumper building to a giant “ABC News” signature. A couple of months after the theme debuted, Amanpour left This Week and ABC started to use a slightly altered version of its election theme for the program. Some cues from the extended 2011 package are still used today, including the moving “In Memoriam” cue.

DreamArtists Music - This Week theme

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“Vote 2010” Theme


This new election theme package (the “Rally” package) was composed by the CCO and Founder of DreamArtists Music, Matthew Kajcienski. The package was launched on the evening of November 2nd, 2010 for the election special hosted by ABC anchors Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos. ABC wanted something “big, bold, fresh, urgent, and exciting” for the new election season leading up to 2012.

DreamArtists Music - Vote 2010 theme

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“20/20” 2010 – 2012 Theme


This 2010 theme is part of a new theme package by ABC’s friends at DreamArtists Music. The package was commissioned for 20/20’s relaunch in october of 2010. The new theme package reflects the “darker, more dramatic” approach ABC has taken with the popular news program. You might also hear hints of the 2009 theme, also by DreamArtists Music, that has now become the closing theme to the broadcast.

DreamArtists Music - 20/20 theme

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“Good Morning America” 2009 – 2012 Theme


When George Stephanopolous succeeded Diane Sawyer as anchor of Good Morning America, this theme was launched. This update of the previous theme – also by DreamArtists Music – is intended to reflect the more newsy direction that GMA has taken. The new theme was accompanied by a new opening format: (1) opening vamp under introductions by the main anchors, (2) main theme under a montage announcing the featured stories, (3) musical build over announcer with visuals of Times Square and (4) bumper into the show. The weekend edition of GMA continued to use the previous theme for a while but eventually adopted this version.

DreamArtists Music - Good Morning America

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“20/20” 2009 – 2010 Theme


20/20 started using this theme in september 2009. However, the theme was originally used for ABC branding promos starting in 2008. The promo was popular and the network liked the music so much that they asked the composers – DreamArtists Music – to develop an entire package around it for the ABC news magazine. While the theme was replaced in the fall of 2010 with a darker theme by DreamArtists Music, it was still occasionally used to open 20/20.

DreamArtists Music - 20/20 theme

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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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“The View” 2007 – 2014 Theme


This theme was used for a number of years, starting when Whoopi Goldberg joined the show as the new moderator. During its usage a number of co-hosts sat around the table with one arched leaf, a hallmark of the show’s set. Among them: Jenny McCarthy, Sherri Shepherd and Joy Behar.

Edd Kalehoff - The View theme

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“Good Morning America” 2007 – 2009 Open


Over the last few years, DreamArtists Music has been the “go to guys” for ABC News theme music and branding, but this one was the first. It was quite a remarkable accomplishment for them to get a chance to write the theme for GMA. At the time, in 2006, the company was just getting off the ground and consisted of a small group of recent Juilliard graduates in their mid 20’s, as well as faculty at the famed school. Although they were having some initial success in commercial writing, they had virtually no experience with composing news music for the big broadcast networks. Yet they had to compete with established big-name music production companies with expensive marketing firms. So how did they get their big break? When Charles Gibson took over World News Tonight in 2006, DreamArtists Music saw an opportunity for a possible theme change on the program. After ample research on target audiences, branding efforts, and trends in the industry, they created an elaborate presentation for ABC News with a full program music demo scored to picture. To their surprise and with the help of an equally young 2-man marketing team, they received a call the next day. Eventually they landed a meeting with ABC executives who were impressed by DreamArtists’ uniqueness as far as their accomplished concert music backgrounds, new positioning in the industry, and conservatory skill set. To their disappointment, World News was not in the market for a new theme at the time, but were told there might be an opportunity for them down the line. That unknown opportunity turned out to be anything but a small consolation prize. With persistence at their side (and a 26 year old at the company helm), they were called into the offices and asked to submit a theme for the GMA re-launch in 2007. Together with ABC, DreamArtists spent several months in the process – with almost daily work in the studio – before gaining everyone’s approval from executives to anchors. The result was a crafty orchestral theme a bit more upscale than what GMA had before.

DreamArtists Music - Good Morning America open

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“Vote 2006/08” Theme


Although there was also a more traditional sounding election theme, this piece of music is most closely associated with ABC’s coverage of the 2006 and 2008 elections. ABC still uses this music today as a secondary theme for its election coverage and World News. However, to be completely factual: this theme is part of VideoHelper’s library (it’s on disc 29 and called Presidential Persuasion) but ABC uses a custom version that sounds less threatening and less aggressive. The custom version, as you can hear below, has newer strings and the percussion is slightly different. The volume of the percussion was reduced and it was played straight through, not looped like in the library version. For a few years ABC World News used a headline bed that is derived from the custom version of this theme. The generic version was used by local ABC stations for their election coverage.

VideoHelper - Presidential Persuasion (generic version) VideoHelper - Presidential Persuasion (custom ABC version)

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“World News Webcast” Theme


The webcast was launched in 2006 as part of a larger effort by ABC News to provide more frequent newscasts. When Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff started anchoring, they anchored 3 live broadcasts for 3 different timezones. And in the afternoon at 3 p.m. EST, one of them also did the daily webcast. In the beginning it was called World News Now, but the name was changed to avoid confusion with the ABC’s overnight newscast. When Charlie Gibson took over as anchor, he continued the webcast but only appeared on it a couple of times a week. When Diane Sawyer took over World News in 2009, the webcast was cancelled.

The theme package for the webcast was originally intended for the weekend editions for World News Tonight.

Score Productions - World News Webcast

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