Countdown started as more or less a regular newscast in the early days of the Iraq War. But it would grow into MSNBC’s signature show. It’s fast pace, irreverent segments and liberal commentary made it a ratings hit. MSNBC used the show as a template to rebuild its entire primetime lineup. Two of its guest hosts, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell, would get their own shows on MSNBC. This theme samples the second movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and thereby makes an allusion to NBC News’ long history. That six-note introduction had been prominently used on the Huntley-Brinkley Report since the 1950’s.
Made Music Studio – Countdown with Keith Olbermann (MSNBC) theme
After Olbermann abruptly left MSNBC, he took his show to the liberal network Current. The opening music was altered but in the same vein, with hints of Beethoven.