Themes from ‘48 Hours’

“48 Hours Mystery” Current Theme


This is the theme that has been used on 48 Hours Mystery since the fall of 2010. Like the previous themes, it is composed by Richard Fiocca. It’s not used for some of the special editions of 48 Hours Mystery, such as Live to Tell. That edition, which tells stories without the use of narrator, uses no theme music.

Richard Fiocca - 48 Hours Mystery theme

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“48 Hours Mystery” 2002 – 2008 Theme


In 2002 Dan Rather stepped down as anchor of 48 Hours and the show was reformatted. In a trend that almost all other news magazines would follow in years to come, 48 Hours Mystery – as it was now called – focussed on telling true crime stories. Murders are examined step-by-step in a suspense-building style. Essentially the news magazine became  a non-fiction novel, taking the place of the movie of the week on the network schedule. This theme reflects that change. During the first two years of the new format, Leslie Stahl anchored (and the program was actually known as “48 Hours Investigates”). After that period, the correspondent would introduce his own story.

Richard Fiocca - 48 Hours Mystery theme

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“48 Hours” 1997 – 2002 Theme


This theme was used in the years before 48 Hours was revamped. The graphics gave the program a big city and very contemporary feel and look, which stood in stark contrast to the retro look of the original CBS news magazine, 60 Minutes. This theme is composed by Richard Fiocca, whose long term association with 48 Hours started with this theme.

Richard Fiocca - 48 Hours theme

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“48 Hours” 1996 – 1997 Theme


This theme is composed by Edd Kalehoff and used on 48 Hours for about a year. When they started to use this theme, 48 Hours dropped the big spinning TV camera (with the CBS News logo on it) that used to open the program. Dan Rather continued to anchor. While he is sometimes thought to be the first network evening news anchor to also anchor a news magazine, David Brinkley was actually the first. He hosted a monthly news magazine while also anchoring the Huntley-Brinkley report. In any case, it is not very rare anymore today.

Edd Kalehoff - 48 Hours theme

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“48 Hours” 1991 – 1996 Theme


This is the second theme composed by Edd Kalehoff for 48 Hours. The previous theme however wasn’t completely dropped when they started to use this. It was still used during the cold open when the show teased its main story. This cue was used for the opening credits, which introduced all the correspondents. Around this time, Kalehoff composed a lot of themes for CBS News. His music was also used for West 57th, Face to Face, Saturday Night and Nightwatch.

Edd Kalehoff - 48 Hours open

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“48 Hours” 1988 – 1996 Theme


In 1988 CBS News started a new kind of news magazine: 48 Hours. The show drew its name, inspiration and original format from a CBS News documentary that was titled 48 Hours on Crack Street. The documentary, which attracted high ratings, was about the drug crisis and how it affected neighborhoods. Like the original documentary, the show focussed on showing events that occurred within a timespan of 48 hours, hence the name. The format was phased out in the early 1990’s. The series was anchored by Dan Rather. This is the theme they used to open the show. After three years, new music was composed and this theme was used as secondary music.

Edd Kalehoff - 48 Hours theme

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