Themes from ‘This Week’

“This Week” Current Theme


 
This is quite a departure from the past. The theme to This Week has always been a particularly harmonic and melodic driven work. This time, ABC execs wanted a track in which the backbone was completely percussive-driven. Though this might sound straight-forward, over 45 individual percussive instruments were used to create the new sound for This Week. The wide pallet a composer usually has to work with when composing a theme – meaning percussion, effects, and melodic/harmonic instruments in combination – was limited. The challenge was giving the theme the same variety, emotion, and diversity with percussion only – then sprinkling in harmonic elements to glue together the track and ID the ABC News mnemonic (which is a stripped down version of the last theme’s button).
 
DreamArtists Music - This Week theme

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“This Week” 2013 – 2017 Theme


In 2013 ABC’s This Week was given the makeover that it needed. The sunday morning show previously had no graphics or theme music of its own. Instead it was using ABC’s election package that was seemingly hastily converted into a show package when Christiane Amanpour was replaced by George Stephanopolous. Meanwhile, This Week had changed into a slightly hipper show. It now regularly uses pop music, for example, to lead into or out of commercial breaks. It’s a practice that has become a staple of morning shows but not the more serious sunday public affairs programs. DreamArtists Music combined the popular and recognizable election music with some new secondary themes with a re-orchestration to add a bit of an ESPN-vibe to the show. Fun fact: DreamArtists Music’s lead composer Matthew Kajcienski learned to play the electric guitar over a weekend just for this theme. But since he is trained as a concert violinist picking up a guitar was not a huge departure.

DreamArtists Music - This Week theme

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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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“This Week” 2003 – 2007 Theme


Despite a rough start for George Stephanopolous, a few years into his stint as moderator of This Week he started finding his ways (and an audience). The graphics and theme for This Week have a distinctly fresh appearance, especially compared to its rival programs. The theme has the ABC News signature.

Score Productions - This Week theme

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“This Week” 2002 – 2003 Theme


In 2002 George Stephanopolous was named moderator of This Week. Stephanopolous is a former Clinton communications aid who frequently helped prepare members of the Clinton administration for these Sunday morning public affairs programs. And considering the intense scrutinizing, an adequate preparation is a must for politicians coming on. Often the guests on these programs spend the better part of Saturday anticipating questions and thinking through answers. What distinguishes a good moderator is his ability to cut through the prepared material, and elicit statements that they weren’t prepared to make. This short lived theme was composed by Score Productions.

Score Productions - This Week theme

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“This Week” 1996 – 2002 Theme


Co-moderators Sam Donaldson, who previously was the in-house liberal, and Cokie Roberts, formerly a regular panelist, replaced David Brinkley. Sam and Cokie’s This Week, never really caught on however. After 15 years of Sunday morning dominance, the number one spot was relinquished to NBC’s Meet the Press with Tim Russert. Cokie and Sam were replaced in 2002 after falling behind CBS’ Face the Nation.

Score Productions - This Week theme

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“This Week” 1981 – 1996 Theme


In 1981 This Week hit the airwaves as ABC’s answer to NBC’s Meet the Press and as successor to Issues and Answers. Its moderator was David Brinkley who left longtime employer NBC News because he was forced to anchor one of NBC’s many low rated news magazines. At ABC, Brinkley revitalized Sunday morning public affairs programs by adding a panel: the roundtable. It provided a unique look at the news of the week with educated debate. Furthermore, it made public affairs programming accessible to the average Joe by always doing a setup piece before the interview. Due to this and Brinkley’s talent, the program was very successful. Brinkley stepped down as moderator in 1996 but continued to provide regular commentary until 1997. He died in 2003.

Score Productions - This Week theme

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“Issues & Answers” 1972 – 197? Theme


Issues and Answers was ABC’s first Sunday show. It premiered in 1960 and stayed on the air until 1981 when This Week started its run. Issues and Answers lasted 30 minutes and featured notable moderators such as Howard K. Smith. Like NBC’s Meet the Press and CBS’s Face the Nation at the time, ABC too had a format in which various journalists interviewed a government official. But ABC mostly used its own correspondents. This theme was used for a time in the seventies to open and close the show. Not much else is known about it. If you know the composer or have a clue as to the exact dates of usage, let me know.

Unknown composer - Issues & Answers theme

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