Themes from ‘VideoHelper’

“Nightline” 2014 – 2018 Theme

For the first time in about a decade, Nightline changed its theme. The new music, like the old, is composed by VideoHelper. During this era, Nightline moved to a later time slot. Jimmy Kimmel’s show brought in a younger audience and thus more profits, so Nightline now airs an hour later. However, ratings are still pretty good. The show frequently beats comedy shows on NBC and CBS.

VideoHelper – Nightline theme

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“Vote 2006/08” Theme

Although there was also a more traditional sounding election theme, this piece of music is most closely associated with ABC’s coverage of the 2006 and 2008 elections. It continued to be used thereafter as a secondary election theme. However, to be completely factual: this theme is part of VideoHelper’s library (it’s called Presidential Persuasion and can be found on disc 29) but ABC uses a custom version that sounds less threatening and less aggressive. The custom version, as you can hear below, has newer strings and the percussion is slightly different. The volume of the percussion was reduced and it was played straight through, not looped like in the library version. For a few years, ABC World News used a headline bed that is derived from the custom version of this theme. The generic version was used by local ABC stations for their election coverage.

VideoHelper – Presidential Persuasion (generic version)
VideoHelper – Presidential Persuasion (custom ABC version)

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“Nightline” 2005 – 2014 Theme

After the retirement of its longtime anchor in 2005, Nightline underwent drastic changes that ultimately made the program a ratings winner. Instead of focussing on interviews related to the news of the day — a need that cable news came to fulfill — it became more of a news magazine. Ted Koppel was replaced by a team of three anchors while production of the show moved from Washington to New York. Under the musical direction of VideoHelper’s Joe Saba and Stew Winter, Nightline’s theme was completely revamped. The percussion-driven music certainly makes it stand out from other news music.

VideoHelper – Nightline theme

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“Good Morning America” 2004 – 2006 Open

This is the 2004 open to Good Morning America by VideoHelper, originally composed in 2000 as the theme to World News Tonight. When the theme started being used for GMA, the program had regained much of its momentum that it lost in the late 90’s. Though Charles Gibson left in 2006 to anchor World News, he was not replaced on GMA. A year before he left Robin Roberts was added as co-anchor so the program simply went back to having two anchors. Male personalities were added to the mix when Chris Cuomo and Sam Champion were appointed news anchor and weatherman respectively. GMA, however, was the first network morning show to have two female primary anchors. A few years later, Today would follow.

VideoHelper – Good Morning America open

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“More Americans get their news from…” Music

This is the piece of music that was used in the early 2000s after each ABC News program to remind us that more and more people are watching ABC News. A fifteen-second version of this wonderful piece of music is used in alternation with this one to promote the “50 States, One Nation, One Year” campaign. What’s that? Essentially that is World News Tonight and Good Morning America going on the road to broadcast from a particular state and do a feature report about that state. The music is composed by VideoHelper.

VideoHelper – Show close

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“20/20” 2001 – 2004 Theme

This theme, composed by VideoHelper, has an interesting story. It both started and ended its run on air as a promo for ABC’s evening newscast. While it was used as a promo in the late 1990’s for Peter Jennings’ broadcast, someone at ABC liked it so much that they suggested it’d be a good 20/20 theme. Five years after it was dropped as a theme for 20/20, it was used to promote the debut of Diane Sawyer as anchor of World News.

20/20 used this theme at a time when there were significant and constant changed in the anchor line-up for the first time in its history. When this theme first started being used, Barbara Walters anchored solo since former co-anchor Hugh Downs had retired in 1999. In early 2002 John Miller, who impressed many with his live analysis during marathon coverage of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, became co-anchor. But he never got very comfortable as an anchor and a year later he jumped at the chance to rejoin law enforcement and leave TV news. So for a few months in early 2003 Barbara Walters anchored solo again. But she was nearing retirement and preferred a co-anchor. In May of 2003 John Stossel, the man behind the controversial though popular “Give me a break” segments, was named co-anchor of 20/20.

VideoHelper – 20/20 theme

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“World News Tonight” 2000 – 2012 theme

This is the version of the World News theme by Edd Kalehoff that was used in a period during which the broadcast underwent significant changes. Longtime anchor Peter Jennings passed away and one of his replacements, Bob Woodruff, was severely injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Eventually the other replacement for Jennings, Elizabeth Vargas, who was in effect sole anchor as Woodruff was out of the running, was replaced by Charles Gibson. He retired after three years as anchor of the program and was succeeded by Diane Sawyer. This theme is fifteen seconds shorter than the previous versions of the theme. Kalehoff compressed the front part, giving the theme a more urgent sound.

Edd Kalehoff – World News Tonight theme
Edd Kalehoff – World News Tonight 2000 – 2008 headline bed

In 2008 they started using a different headline bed that lasted for about a year. The program had dropped the ‘Tonight’ from its name, simply calling itself ‘World News’.

Edd Kalehoff – World News 2008 – 2009 headline bed

And finally, this is the headline bed that ABC World News used from 2009 to 2012. It is derived from ABC’s election theme at the time. The music composed by VideoHelper made its on air debut just a few months before Charles Gibson left the anchor chair.

VideoHelper – World News 2009 – 2012 headline bed

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“World News Tonight” 2000 Open (Unused)

This theme was supposed to debut when World News Tonight premiered its new graphics in 2000. It didn’t. While Peter Jennings, then-executive producer Paul Slavin, and others had cleared it, Senior Management had not. And that was a problem. At the very last minute, they decided that the show already had altered its appearance enough and that it might alienate viewers if it also changed it’s long established theme. That’s very unfortunate because it is a good theme. It’s composed by the people at VideoHelper. The story, however, continues. Good Morning America later adopted this as their opening theme.

VideoHelper – World News Tonight theme (unused)

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