Themes from ‘CBS News’

“Face the Nation” 2002 – 2009 Theme

Bob Schieffer is the moderator of Face the Nation. He authored an autobiography a few years ago. The book, besides sketching a detailed picture of the media through the better part of 40 years, reveals an unseen side to Schieffer. He claims to be in a war of practical jokes with former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw. At one time he spread the rumor that Brokaw would be replaced on the Today show by Alan Alda (of M*A*S*H fame). In fact, he even sent a phony fan letter to Brokaw stating his displeasure about that. But, Brokaw was not about to let Schieffer win from him, so he read that phony fan letter on the air and concluded by saying: “I’d tell you who wrote it, but you wouldn’t recognize the name.” This theme from Face the Nation has been used from September of 2002 until May 2009 and is composed by Peter Fish.

Peter Fish – Face the Nation theme

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (147 votes, 4.00 out of 5)

“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

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (92 votes, 3.80 out of 5)

“Campaign 2000/02/04” Theme

This theme was used during the last elections that Dan Rather covered for CBS. It’s composed by Michael Colina, who has done all election music for CBS since 1976.

Michael Colina – CBS Campaign 2000 theme

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (198 votes, 4.35 out of 5)

“The Early Show” 1999 – 2002 Theme

On November 1, 1999 a new morning show debuted on CBS: The Early Show. The name was chosen to reflect that it should be considered a counterpart to the Late Show, like the Today Show is to the Tonight Show. Besides a new name, the program also got a new set of co-hosts, former Today Show co-anchor Bryant Gumbel and CBS News correspondent Jane Clayson, as well as a $30 million street level studio, just like Today and GMA. The theme is composed by Chris Bowman and is called ‘Sunrise’. It was pure luck for Bowman that his music was selected to be the show’s theme. When he heard that Gumbel was to anchor a new morning show on CBS, he sent in a piece of music that he thought would make a great theme. His one-in-a-million shot paid off. It lasted until 2002 when Bryant Gumbel left The Early Show and the program was revamped. (For the next few years they would use an instrumental version of the song Brand New Day by Sting.)

Chris Bowman – Early Show theme (1999 version)
Chris Bowman – Early Show theme (2000 version)

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (167 votes, 4.29 out of 5)

“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

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (50 votes, 3.58 out of 5)

“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

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (89 votes, 4.29 out of 5)

“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

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (56 votes, 3.34 out of 5)

“CBS This Morning” 1996 – 1999 Theme

Throughout history, CBS has performed miserably in the morning timeslot. While GMA and Today competed for first place, CBS was mostly a distant third. It wasn’t because of a lack of stars. Since the 1950’s people such as Walter Cronkite, Dick van Dyke, Jack Paar and Mike Wallace have served the morning shift for CBS. It had more to do with Captain Kangaroo. The hour long children’s program was on the morning schedule for thirty years, from the 1950’s to 1980’s. It hampered CBS’s ability to program a morning show that could fully compete with Today and GMA. From its earliest days, they never developed a morning audience.

Over the years, CBS has tried with various shows. In the 1980’s they tried hard. In 1980 they developed a program called ‘Morning’ with hosts Charles Kuralt and Diane Sawyer. After Captain Kangaroo was moved off the weekday schedule, Morning was stretched to a full two hours. But after a few seasons both anchors had left and were replaced with various unsuccessful anchors. So it was decided that the program needed a total makeover. On January 12, 1987 CBS launched ‘The Morning Program’, a 90-minute show hosted by Mariette Hartley, Rolland Smith, weather by Mark Mc Ewen, and comedy by Bob Saget. Their attempt to blend hard news with comedy failed after only ten months. Once again, a new program was launched. On November 30, 1987 CBS This Morning premiered with Harry Smith and Kathleen Sullivan. In 1990 Sullivan was replaced by Paula Zahn. This anchor team remained intact until Mark McEwen (formerly the show’s weatherman) and Jane Robelot (formerly the news anchor) took over in 1996 when the show was revamped. They also changed the format to include more local news breaks. During this period in CBS’s long history of morning show failures, this theme was used. It’s performed by Carly Simon, who also co-wrote it along with Peter Fish.

Carly Simon & Peter Fish – This Morning theme

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (119 votes, 3.33 out of 5)

“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

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (61 votes, 3.98 out of 5)

“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

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (55 votes, 3.65 out of 5)

“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

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (65 votes, 4.20 out of 5)

“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

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (52 votes, 3.52 out of 5)

“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

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (55 votes, 4.07 out of 5)

“Face the Nation” 1991 – 2002 Theme

Face the Nation is one of the longest running programs on television. At thirty minutes in length it is the shortest of the Sunday morning public affairs programs. In its long history, legends such as Howard K. Smith moderated the program. Currently the program is moderated by Bob Schieffer who is one of the few Washington journalists to have covered the White House, Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department (the big four Washington assignments). This theme is composed by Score Productions and lasted until 2002.

Score Productions – Face the Nation theme

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (84 votes, 4.11 out of 5)

“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

Aweful!BadAverageGoodExcellent! (101 votes, 4.39 out of 5)