Themes from ‘Other’

“CBS News Special Report” 2006 – 2011 Theme

This ominous sounding cue of James Horner’s theme package for the CBS Evening News was composed for special reports, impromptu newscasts that break into regularly scheduled programming. Before they start, viewers can usually see (part of) a 10-second countdown. That is used to give CBS stations around the country the chance to switch to the national feed. Before the Horner theme, CBS News used the headline cue from the 1991 Evening News package to open special reports.

James Horner – CBS News Special Report theme

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“America at War” Theme

This was the theme that CBS used for all coverage of the 2003 War in Iraq. Theme music is very important in setting the tone for the program, as music instantly brings up associations in the minds of viewers. ABC used a variation of the Special Report theme that sounds rather sad and somber for the war. NBC used music by Michael Karp that sounded very dramatic. CBS, however, took a different approach, as you can hear. The network decided on a very aggressive piece of music that would shock-and-awe you. Peter Fish composed the music.

Peter Fish – America at War theme

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“CBS Radio News” Current Sounder

At the top of each hour, listeners of Westwood One affiliated stations get a six minute news update from CBS News. Since early 2003 NBC News went back into the radio news business, also providing one-minute updates to Westwood One affiliates anchored by its big names. ABC News, of course, also has its own radio network and top of the hour news service. The current sounder is based on notes that have been used since the 1960s on the CBS Radio News.

Peter Fish – CBS Radio News open

Here’s the sounder that the CBS Radio News uses when they have a special report. It’s part of the package composed by Peter Fish.

Peter Fish – CBS Radio News Special Report open

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“Sunday Morning” 1998 – 2004 Theme

This is the theme to Sunday Morning, composed by Johann Gottfried and called “Abblasen”. This music has been used on CBS News Sunday Morning for many years, but only since 1998 have they been using this version performed by Doc Severinsen, the former Tonight Show bandleader. Since 2004 they have been using a version of Abblasen by Wynton Marsalis. CBS Sunday Morning is anchored by Charles Osgood and focuses on the day’s news as well as on arts and entertainment. Being a successful morning program, CBS News executives attempted in the early 80’s to transfer the Sunday morning format to weekdays with anchors Charles Kuralt and Diane Sawyer. So this theme was also used on the weekday morning show for a short period of time.

Johann Gottfried – Abblasen

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“Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel” Theme

Katie Couric was not the first Today personality to be lured to rival CBS. Her old Today Show partner Bryant Gumbel preceded her. In 1997 he moved to CBS to anchor a primetime news magazine: Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel. With an emphasis on serious journalism, costs were high while ratings were not. Within a year the program was cancelled and replaced by another CBS news magazine – 60 Minutes II. These days Public Eye is the name of the blog for CBS News. The theme for the news magazine Public Eye is composed and played by Neal Fox of Patterson, Walz & Fox.

Patterson, Walz & Fox – Public Eye theme

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“CBS News” 1995 – 1996 Tag

And this is another CBS News experience tag. It is composed by Peter Fish. Fish has written a lot of promotional music for CBS News.

Peter Fish – CBS News tag

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“Eye to Eye” 1994 – 1995 Theme

Eye to Eye got Connie Chung and CBS in a lot of trouble, which led to Chung’s exit at CBS. When Chung interviewed the mother of Newt Gingrich, then Speaker of the House, she asked what her son thought of first lady Hillary Clinton. She answerred quietely that he thinks she is a bitch. Gingrich immediately complained that his mother was taken advantage of. The public seemed to agree. This led to Connie Chung being taken off the CBS Evening News and her departure at CBS. For the last few months of its life, this news magazine was just called “Eye to Eye”, without Connie Chung.

Unknown – Eye to Eye theme

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“Eye to Eye” 1993 – 1994 Theme

Eye to Eye was the third Connie Chung news magazine at CBS. It was essentially a retooled version of Face to Face with Connie Chung. While she anchored this weekly broadcast, she also co-achored the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. The news magazine featured about four or five topics and lasted for an hour. Chung would anchor and contribute reports and interviews for the broadcast.

Patterson, Walz and Fox Music Productions – Eye to Eye theme

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“CBS News” 1993 – 1994 Tag

The long running CBS News promotional line is very simple: experience. This tag was used after a CBS News broadcast to drive the point home.

Peter Fish – CBS News tag

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“Up to the Minute” 1992 – 2006 Theme

Up to the Minute is CBS’ overnight newscast. It premiered in 1992 with Russ Mitchell and Monica Gayle as its first anchor team. Since 1998 Up to the Minute is fronted by a solo anchor. The program is more serious and less irreverent than its main competitor World News Now on ABC.

Score Productions – Up to the Minute theme

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“Street Stories” Theme

Street Stories was a newsmagazine that premiered in 1992 featuring 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley. Its premise was that all the stories it reported on could be happening in your city, neighborhood or street. In the summer of 1993 CBS replaced it with a new Connie Chung-anchored news magazine, Eye to Eye.

Peter Fish – Street Stories theme

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“Saturday Night with Connie Chung” Theme

This 1989 program replaced West 57th and was anchored by Connie Chung. Like West 57th it tried to set itself apart from other news magazines by doing things differently. How? In order to enhance the story telling, they used actors to recreate actual events. Critics charged that this blurred the line between news and fiction. The program, at any rate, was not very successful and only had a short run.

Edd Kalehoff – Saturday Night with Connie Chung

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“CBS News Special Report” 1988 – 1993

This is the classic CBS News Special Report theme that was used from 1988 until 1993. Edd Kalehoff is the composer. Kalehoff was quite active for CBS News at the time. He also did several news magazines, such as 48 Hours, and the CBS News Nightwatch theme. This Special Report theme was replaced with the headline bed from the 1991 CBS Evening News theme package. That was used for the remainder of the Dan Rather-era of CBS News.

Edd Kalehoff – CBS News Special Report theme

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“CBS News Nightwatch” 1988 – 1992 Theme

During this period CBS News Nightwatch used branding similar to the CBS Evening News. It’s logo and opening graphics are basically the same. The theme music, however, is different. Edd Kalehoff composed an entirely new theme for the overnight show. It was used until 1992, when the show was renamed to Up To the Minute.

Edd Kalehoff – CBS News Nightwatch theme

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“West 57th” Theme

This hip and slick news magazine was started in 1985 as the 60 Minutes for a younger generation. It was named after the address of the CBS Broadcast Center in New York. The show was fast paced and visually flashy but had essentially the same format as 60 Minutes. The program had no main anchor; the correspondents (like Meredith Vieira and Steve Kroft) would introduce their own stories. Despite its popularity and profitability, West 57th faced a lot of internal criticism. Dan Rather was afraid it took away resources from the CBS Evening News and Don Hewitt saw it as a younger rival to 60 Minutes. The program was cancelled in 1989.

Edd Kalehoff – West 57th

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