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.”