Themes from ‘Elections’

“Decision 2016” Theme


For the 2016 election, composer Michael Karp revised his legendary NBC election theme that has been on the air since 2004. It includes an entirely new thematic section, a new vamp section and other minor updates. In addition to MSNBC and CNBC, NBC also uses it for various election events such as “The Commander-in-Chief Forum”.

Michael Karp - NBC Decision 2016 theme

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“Today” 2016 Election Theme


During the 2016 election, Today continues to use its own election theme. This theme is not used by any other NBC News program. It’s composed by Adam Gubman for Non-Stop Music. The new music builds on the music that Today used since 2010 to introduce their election coverage. More can be heard on Gubman’s Soundcloud channel.

Non-Stop Music - Today Election Theme

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“Today” 2010 – 2015 Election Open


While all NBC News programs use the same graphics for their election coverage, they don’t all use the same theme music. Today has used its own election theme since 2010. It’s part of a package consisting of various secondary themes by Adam Gubman for Non-Stop Music. This particular cut was also used to open the 60th anniversary special edition of Today. During that broadcast the Empire State Building was lit in the colors of Today and anchor Ann Curry wore a dress with the Today sunburst prominently displayed on it.

Non-Stop Music - Today Election Open

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“Decision 2010/2012/2014/2016” Theme


After using Michael Karp’s election theme for several election cycles, NBC went into a totally different direction in 2010. This election theme is more understated and has a cinematic sound. You might be surprised to learn that the music is done in-house. Gordon Miller is the music director for MSNBC. Along with the election theme, he also composed the music for the news magazine Rock Center.

Gordon Miller - Decision 2010 theme

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“Decision 2004/2006/2008” Theme


Election themes don’t get much better than this. Michael Karp composed this theme which NBC used for the 2004, 2006 and 2008 elections. Decision 2004 was the last election anchored by Tom Brokaw who retired days later from NBC Nightly News. He anchored from a huge set built on and around Rockefeller Plaza (which was temporarily renamed Democracy Plaza). MSNBC started using this theme again in 2012 for its election coverage and continues to use it in the 2016 election.

Michael Karp Music - Decision 2004 theme

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“Decision 1996/1998/2000/2002” Theme


This theme has been used for coverage of the 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002 elections. Generally the broadcast networks go all out for general elections and special graphics, sets and themes are to be expected. This theme is composed by Non-Stop Music, which had already done some bumpers for Today and themes for MSNBC (as well as many, many other great themes for television).

Non-Stop Music - Decision theme

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“Decision 84” Open


In 1976 NBC introduced the concept of red states and blue states. To graphically illustrate the election results, they colored a state red if a Democrat won and blue when a Republican did. ABC copied that four years later but switched the colors because red started with an ‘r’ for Republican. Other broadcasters would copy ABC’s color scheme but NBC kept their original color scheme for some time during the 1980’s. So on election night 1984, NBC’s map was almost entirely blue while ABC and CBS’ were almost entirely red. Regardless of the color of the graphics, Ronald Reagan was reelected with a landslide margin. For this election NBC commissioned a hybrid of their classic Salute to the President theme by Henry Mancini and their electronic open to Nightly News. In conjunction with this open, the original Mancini theme was still used as a close.

Joseph Paul Sicurella, Tony Smythe and Bob Christianson - Decision 84 Open

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“Decision” 1976 – 1992 Theme


NBC used this theme by Henry Mancini for a long time, from the election of Jimmy Carter as president to Bill Clinton. It has the patriotic title “Salute to the President”. Mancini is a well regarded composer, having composed instantly recognizable soundtracks to movies such as The Pink Panther. Here you can listen to the long close and an open.

Henry Mancini - Decision '76 open

Henry Mancini - Decision '76 close


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