CBS Taps 30-Piece Orchestra for New Sound for ‘CBS Evening News’

When Scott Pelley takes the desk of “The CBS Evening News” Tuesday evening, he will do so in new surroundings – of a sort.

The venerable newscast this evening will debut a new musical theme and new graphics elements, part of an effort to lend the show a new look as it continues to emphasize enterprise reporting and investigative journalism and distinguish itself from rivals on NBC and ABC. In recent weeks, the show has tinkered with the backdrops and camera angles it uses to create views that are more striking. The tweaks coincide with anchor Scott Pelley’s fifth anniversary at the helm of the broadcast.

“The revamped headlines, theme music and opening animation are sharp and sophisticated and will let our production and reporting teams showcase their considerable talents and storytelling expertise,” said Steve Capus, executive producer of “CBS Evening News,” in a prepared statement.

CBS News in November asked Joel Beckerman, a composer and author, and his company, Man Made Music, to develop new music for CBS’ debates and political coverage. Beckerman and his staff incorporated some of the refrains from that political music for a new arrangement of the “CBS Evening News” theme. The team made use of a full, 30-piece live orchestra, along with a variety of modern production elements, and the music can  can be updated and even in some cases tailored for specific broadcasts, like the West Coast edition of the “CBS Evening News.”

The broadcast has grown for five years under Pelley, adding more than 1.4 million viewers during his tenure. The show has mustered five consecutive years of audience growth under Pelley, the first time any broadcast-network newscast has been able to do so in at least 28 years, according to CBS. Even so, the show’s viewership lags that of NBC’s “NBC Nightly News” with Lester Holt, and ABC’s “World News Tonight” with David Muir.

“This is the next phase of our broadcast’s evolution,” said Pelley, in a statement. “We will continue to deliver original reporting from all around the world every evening with precision and integrity.”

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