Themes from ‘Early Today’

“Early Today” 2004 – 2013 Theme


In 2004 Early Today received a complete makeover. MSNBC took over production of the show and it shifted focus from financial news to general news. Subsequently Early Today got new graphics, a new theme and a new anchor. In fact, since 2004 anchors changes have been frequent. Natalie Morales, Amy Robach, Contessa Brewer and Kristine Johnson have all anchored the program. The theme is composed by Savage & Laporta. In 2013 Early Today’s look was updated to match the Today Show.

Savage & Laporta - Early Today theme

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“Early Today” 1999 – 2004 Theme


In 1999 NBC replaced the long running News at Sunrise with Early Today, seeking to extend the strong ‘Today’-brand. This is not the first time that time slot was occupied by a newscast named Early Today. From 1982 to 1983 the peacock network also used this title for its early morning newscast. The current incarnation, during the period in which this theme was used, was produced by CNBC and focused on financial and business news. Because of this the show had similar graphics as the main CNBC network and was taped at CNBC headquarters. The show was anchored by CNBC’s Nanette Hansen. The theme is by JSM Music.

JSM Music - Early Today theme

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“NBC News at Sunrise” 1985 – 1996 Open


This is another cue from The Mission by John Williams. NBC selected it as the opening for NBC News at Sunrise, which was the network’s early morning newscast that had debuted in 1983 with Connie Chung as anchor. Around 1996 News at Sunrise replaced its open with the Nightly News open. The program left the airwaves in 1999, being replaced with Early Today.

When composing this theme and the other cues for The Mission, Williams talked a lot about it with director Steven Spielberg. That led to a surprise on the day of the recording. Former NBC News executive Tom Wolzien, who had selected Williams to compose a new set of themes for NBC News, explains: “On the morning of the recording session when I got to the Paramount stage, the 90-piece orchestra we’d hired was turning up and Williams was at the podium getting set. He saw me come into the back of the stage, and came running through the orchestra and said something like, ‘Tom, I wonder if it would be OK if a friend sat in the control room with you.’ I said something like ‘sure, John, whomever you want’, and then asked who it was. Williams said: ‘Steven Spielberg’. He stayed through much of the morning session, and I remember sitting with him when we all heard The Mission theme for the first time.”

John Williams - NBC News at Sunrise open

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