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Geoffrey

"This is CNN" is Back!

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I saw a "This is CNN" ID just a few minutes ago. As has been the case throughout CNN's history, it was voiced by Darth Vader James Earl Jones and used the familiar CNN signature/music. I think it's been quite a few years since CNN last did this (except maybe during political coverage opens but not as standalone IDs during commercial breaks).

 

The graphics didn't look as special or detailed as in the past but it still seemed rather powerful.

 

I hope the ID is back for good and not just special for inauguration coverage. Maybe it's a Jeff Zucker mandate.

 

Five-second IDs probably don't usually get their own threads but this is TVNT and I thought it was pretty cool.

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Domestic used to air one very infrequently. It seemed like it only aired when an ad break was running short. It had the James Earl Jones voiceover, a very synthesized version of the CNN musical signature, and a poorly-rendered orange swoosh going around the CNN logo. Did it look something like that? I don't think I've seen it on there in about 2-3 years.

 

I agree with your sentiments regarding idents, though I always wished CNN Domestic would air and produce USA versions of the International city timelapse idents:

 

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I saw a "This is CNN" ID just a few minutes ago. As has been the case throughout CNN's history' date=' it was voiced by [s']Darth Vader[/s] James Earl Jones and used the familiar CNN signature/music. I think it's been quite a few years since CNN last did this (except maybe during political coverage opens but not as standalone IDs during commercial breaks).

 

The graphics didn't look as special or detailed as in the past but it still seemed rather powerful.

Is Jones back for it, too? That would be awesome.

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Is Jones back for it, too? That would be awesome.

It just aired and yes, Jones is back.

 

It is more simpler than previous efforts.

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It would be a good start if this was permanent.

 

Ideally, Jeff Zucker should either cancel all those unnecessary shows (or move them over to HLN) and get CNN back to its roots: real news.

 

EDIT: For anyone who's interested, here's the CNN Domestic ID from 2000:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAKHlStMph8

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It's not the best quality, but this is all YouTube had to offer...

 

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This looks permanent; it matches some of the newish branding they've been using in promotions. It finally matches the current graphics and is a lot sharper than anything they've used over the last decade. "THIS... is CNN" is one of the best station IDs of all time. And I love the new arrangement of the classic theme.

 

This has to be a Jeff Zucker move, and it's honestly the first thing he should have done. CNN had some AMAZING custom branding that they simply let go to waste over the last decade, both domestically and internationally. If you have a TVPMM account, go to "CNN Presentation themes" and listen to the first 1992 cue. While it is obviously leagues better than the repetitive library music they keep using, Chuck Loeb's theme is something special.

 

I'm wondering if they're having him or someone compose new, specific themes for the network again. The inauguration coverage from yesterday had a stronger soundtrack than I can remember hearing on CNN in years. The Inauguration also has its own, pretty nice, graphics - I can't remember the last time they made special graphics for something, usually they just shove it into their current graphics template.

 

And even the coverage seemed fresh, at least yesterday - they were talking about the general outlook for Obama's next four years in the context of past presidents' second terms. THAT is a pretty neat angle. Whereas on MSNBC we have Rev. Jackson going on and on about hope'n'change and Fox's using their mandate to make their female talent look and sound as dumb as humanly possible. (This is why Megan Kelly gets respect, and deservedly so.)

 

If this is the direction CNN is going as far as presentation and especially news coverage, color me interested. Wary, but interested. This is why I kept saying Zucker as CNN president wasn't a bad thing. CNN's news coverage needs a fresh look, and if they're not going to compete with Fox and MSNBC's biased directions, they have to broaden the network's coverage again. He was a terrible media company CEO, but a good news boss by all accounts.

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I'm wondering if they're having him or someone compose new, specific themes for the network again. The inauguration coverage from yesterday had a stronger soundtrack than I can remember hearing on CNN in years. The Inauguration also has its own, pretty nice, graphics - I can't remember the last time they made special graphics for something, usually they just shove it into their current graphics template.

Most of the music CNN used on Domestic, International and Headline News in the 90s and 2000s was composed by Herb Avery, a random Atlanta-based jazz musician. He doesn't even have a website, so don't bother. Some of his jingles and themes (like the one I posted above) had a great sense of sonic branding and timelessness. They started dabbling with other composers when Headline News went with Stephen Arnold for almost everything around 2005/6, and the old Larry King Live theme by Nonstop Music (which was really good in my opinion). Everything now is a mishmash of Arnold, Expansion Team, production music, or no music at all. Some of Avery's work is still around though. This ident may be his work, and the Situation Room theme may be as well. I haven't heard the Inauguration theme in full, but I would love to see them give work to Avery again.

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It's not the best quality, but this is all YouTube had to offer...

 

It's nice to hear James Earl Jones say "This is CNN" once again

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Most of the music CNN used on Domestic, International and Headline News in the 90s and 2000s was composed by Herb Avery, a random Atlanta-based jazz musician. He doesn't even have a website, so don't bother. Some of his jingles and themes (like the one I posted above) had a great sense of sonic branding and timelessness. They started dabbling with other composers when Headline News went with Stephen Arnold for almost everything around 2005/6, and the old Larry King Live theme by Nonstop Music (which was really good in my opinion). Everything now is a mishmash of Arnold, Expansion Team, production music, or no music at all. Some of Avery's work is still around though. This ident may be his work, and the Situation Room theme may be as well. I haven't heard the Inauguration theme in full, but I would love to see them give work to Avery again.

Huh, interesting. I subscribe to TVPMM, which has virtually all of the old CNN/CNNI/HLN themes from the 80s and 90s, apparently sourced from their master reels (which CNN decided to discard a few years back). Most of them are 80s/90s and usually credited to Chuck Loeb, either alone or alongside Charles Fox or Gary Anderson. The classic CNN theme is Chuck Loeb. Of the ones that they have that are closer to now, Herb Avery and Deborah Hurwitz are frequently credited - and those themes certainly have a much different feel to them. That CNNI timelapse ident has to be Avery's work - TVPMM hosts a Loeb version of that signature that sounds nothing like that. And I agree - Situation Room is probably an Avery theme as well. (It's too damn good to be library.)

 

And a slight correction - the Stephen Arnold HLN stuff is actually from 2001. That was when they went with the "web-inspired interface" that took up more space than the Prevue Channel grids - and looked much uglier to boot. I have the changeover from old to new on tape somewhere. If I have time, I'll upload it, but going through old tapes isn't exactly a priority these days. I liked the theme... not so much the new style of the channel.

 

On a side note, it's interesting to consider HLN's 2001 interpretation of "web-inspired graphical look" with Gannett's 2012 interpretation of the same thing. Like the web itself, it's gone from "overload the viewer with information" to presenting information in a clean, logically designed way.

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Huh, interesting. I subscribe to TVPMM, which has virtually all of the old CNN/CNNI/HLN themes from the 80s and 90s, apparently sourced from their master reels (which CNN decided to discard a few years back). Most of them are 80s/90s and usually credited to Chuck Loeb, either alone or alongside Charles Fox or Gary Anderson. The classic CNN theme is Chuck Loeb. Of the ones that they have that are closer to now, Herb Avery and Deborah Hurwitz are frequently credited - and those themes certainly have a much different feel to them. That CNNI timelapse ident has to be Avery's work - TVPMM hosts a Loeb version of that signature that sounds nothing like that. And I agree - Situation Room is probably an Avery theme as well. (It's too damn good to be library.)

 

And a slight correction - the Stephen Arnold HLN stuff is actually from 2001. That was when they went with the "web-inspired interface" that took up more space than the Prevue Channel grids - and looked much uglier to boot. I have the changeover from old to new on tape somewhere. If I have time, I'll upload it, but going through old tapes isn't exactly a priority these days. I liked the theme... not so much the new style of the channel.

 

On a side note, it's interesting to consider HLN's 2001 interpretation of "web-inspired graphical look" with Gannett's 2012 interpretation of the same thing. Like the web itself, it's gone from "overload the viewer with information" to presenting information in a clean, logically designed way.

That's some interesting information. I think I've heard the names of those other composers before (except Deborah Hurwitz), but I'm pretty certain Avery composed almost 100% of what was heard on CNN International from the late 90s until 2009. I know he wrote all of the International 2006 rebrand stuff, which was excellent. I'm not quite as familiar with Domestic's music, but seeing as

programs on the two networks shared reworked versions of the same theme, I'm pretty sure Avery also did quite a bit on Domestic. (And you're right about Arnold and HLN— I remember the Prime News rebrand, but I overlooked the "Real News Real Fast" one before it).

 

But to relate this back to the original topic, I hope this is a signal that maybe a strong sonic brand is returning to CNN. The CNN signature isn't the most iconic news music signature in history, though it doesn't deserve enough credit for how powerful it is, and it's been off the airwaves ever since Domestic stopped airing an ident and when CNNI dumped the World News melody for something written by a production music company. I also think US cable news' trendencies toward cold opens in recent years has gotten tired. I'd also love to see them pour a ton of money into International after years of neglect, but that's for another day. This new ident looks nice and has also been airing quite a bit recently (at least once an hour). Good move by Zucker.

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