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NEWS (National) | NEWS (Local) | SPORTS | MISC (Education, Talk, Others)

National News Themes and Clips

ABC News 20/20 (1979)
The original theme used throughout the '80s.

The ABC News (1978)
The original World News Tonight/Nightline opening and closing music, used until 1989.

The ABC News (1978)
The 'electronic' theme used for news briefs.

ABC News (1978)
Orchestral theme used for 'Sports Update' during the '80s. My favorite of the ABC News cuts.

ABC News Business Brief (1984, video)
Gives you a good look at some of the economic indicators that signaled America's turnaround from the doldrums of the 1970s.

ABC Radio News (1978)
This was part of the original ABC News TV package, but was used as the sounder for the hourly radio news until 1995. One of my favorites.

ABC News World News This Morning (1982)

ABC News (1989)
1989-96 full theme.

CBS News Election (1976)
Early computer animation, and Walter Cronkite. A great piece of history.

CBS News Election (1980, video)

CBS Evening News (1981, Video)
This was used when Dan Rather replaced Walter Cronkite.

CBS Evening News (1983)
There was actually a regulation at CBS that music could not be used for its news programs (like ABC and CBS had used). So, they compromised by using this teletype sound. In 1987, a full-orchestral theme was finally introduced, after the success of The Mission on NBC.

CNN Headline News (1993)
It's not '80s, but it sure could pass for it. This is the main close by legendary composer Bob Israel of Score Productions.

CNN Headline News open (1993)
Here's the opening music they used.

Dateline NBC (1992)
The original theme to NBC's first successful newsmagazine.

Good Morning America (1982)
Used from 1982-87, when David Hartman departed.

Good Morning America
The popular upbeat theme from 1989-92 in its complete form.

Good Morning America closing (1992)

Independent Network News
A neat 1987 theme

The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (1983)
I couldn't tell MacNeil and Lehrer apart until one of them left, leaving Lehrer. None the less, here's the familiar music.

NBC Magazine (1980, video)
Promotional spot for one of NBCs many failed newsmagazines. Courtesy Dan in Massachusetts.

NBC News
The short electronic-sounding piece used to intro. digests and Nightly News from 1982-85.

NBC News Digest (1983, Video)
NBC introduced a neat animation of the world spinning around. They intended it to simulate the view from a space shuttle as it cruised over the Earth. However, most viewers saw it as the Earth spinning the wrong way. After many complaints, NBC broke down and had it redone...spun the right way in 1984.

NBC News Digest (1985, Video)
Here's the famous Statue of Liberty animation...the clip was actually recorded in 1987. FYI, the statue was not a computer generated image. Just fancy photography and compositing.

NBC Nightly News (1985, Video)
This was taped in 1987...but again, the animation was introduced in 1985. You'll also get a peek of the headlines that day (and the info. header in the file is wrong...this is not KSBW Action News).

NBC News at Sunrise (1985, Video)
Again...recorded in 1987...but this is the open and music introduced in 1985. Great music cut. You'll also get to see a very young Deborah Norville.

NBC News (1985)
A cut of 'The Mission' theme used for news and digest openings.

NBC News (1985)
The full version of the popular 'Mission' theme used during the end of Nightly News

NBC News Decision '88 (1988)

PrimeTime LIVE (1989)
The show may have just left the air, but the theme lives on here.

Sunday Today (1987)
Synthesized music used to close the Sunday Today program on NBC.

Today (1978)
Classic theme. The 1981 theme on the site is based on this one. Thanks to Kenneth in East Wenatchee, Washington.

Today (1981)
This theme was used from 1981-85, and again resurrected in 1993. Composed by Ray Ellis (who also composed Scrabble and $ale of the Century).

Today (1984, video)
Well before 'Seinfeld' made poking fun at everyday life hip, Mike Leonard mastered the art as the Today show's Winnetka, Illinois correspondent. Here, he examines why adults are so fussy about sandwiches. It's long, but well worth the download.

Fortunately, he's still on the job and you can see him regularly on 'Today.'

Today (1984, video)
Leisurely open to the show from the day after Thanksgiving. Bryant has the day off, so John Palmer fills the chair next to Jane Pauley.

Today (1984, video)
Again, from the day after Thanksgiving, it's a typical chatty toss from the weather segment.

Today (1985, video)
Bryant, Jane, and Willard comment on their brand new living room set (my favorite set for TV), a milestone for the show. It became a symbol of its success and was the place for newsmakers to be seen in the morning.

Today (1985)
The music used for the 'Tomorrow morning on Today' promos for many years.

Today (1987, video)
This is a great piece of history. It's the first couple of minutes from The Today Show at its height in 1987. It's much more intelligent and watchable than the garbage they put on the show now. Sorry...but the thought of seeing hyper, screaming people behind a police barricade doesn't appeal to me at 7AM.

Today (1989, video)
Watch a very awkward farewell to the best morning host of all time, Jane Pauley.

Drop a line with any comments to <karimzad@stanfordalumni.org>. I enjoy reading them, but due to the volume, I can't promise a timely response.