You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ Composer Jeff Richmond on the Power of Theme Songs

Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” hails from “30 Rock” exec producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, who are no strangers to blending cynicism with whimsy for comedic results. Following the show’s critically acclaimed freshman season, composer (and Fey’s husband) Jeff Richmond discusses creating the show’s signature sound.

It feels like “Kimmy” might have single-handedly revived the TV theme song, judging by =the way people have embraced it.

Wouldn’t that be great? I’d love if theme songs came back. Nobody wants to make room for them on broadcast anymore. They don’t have the luxury of time to spend 30 seconds to enjoy a song about your show. You’re lucky if you can get three notes in. I think people remember the shows they loved through their theme songs.

How did you come up with it?

Tina and Robert declared when they made the pitch that this show was going to have a theme song and it was going to be exactly what we ended up having — she comes out of a bunker, she’s been there 15 years, held captive. She’s going to head to New York and we’re going to hear her story told every week through a viral video. We ended up settling on these big declarative words like “unbreakable” and “miracle” and “dammit,” and built a loop around that.

What do you think makes a good theme song?

Something that’s catchy and immediately grabs people’s attention. When we were writing the theme, I remember Lorne Michaels had said, “When you hear it playing in the other room, you want to know that your show is starting.” With “Kimmy,” no matter how grim this woman’s backstory is, we’re going to visit it through this sunny, bright, almost anthemic piece of music.

Given that backstory, how do you keep the tone light through the music?

It’s the world and New York City as seen through Kimmy’s eyes. It’s not jaded and cynical and dark and oppressive, because when she gets out of the bunker, there’s a real world that she didn’t think existed anymore. I said, “We’ll do instruments that could be played at a gazebo in a town square” — trumpets, woodwinds, tubas — stuff that just sounds like resilience and happiness.

More TV

  • Nancy Wilson

    Nancy Wilson, Grammy Winning Jazz Singer and TV Personality, Dies at 81

    Nancy Wilson, one of the most revered jazz singers of the 20th century, has died at age 81, her manager told the Associated Press. The singer passed away at her home in Pioneertown, a small California community north of Palm Springs, after a long illness, according to manager Devra Hall. Wilson’s three Grammy awards spanned [...]

  • Emmys 2019 Rule Change Defines TV

    New Emmys Rules Define Television Movie Length

    The Television Academy announced new rules for the 2019 Emmys Thursday night, including setting the minimum length for qualifying television movies at 75 minutes. The rules changes also included the addition of an Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Underscore) award, and restructuring the choreography categories as follows: Outstanding Choreography [...]


    SAG-AFTRA Commercial Negotiations Set for February

    With no fanfare, SAG-AFTRA and the ad industry have set a mid-February start for negotiations for a successor deal to the union’s master contract, Variety has learned. The current three-year deal — which covers about $1 billion in annual earnings — expires on March 31. SAG-AFTRA and the Joint Policy Committee of the ad industry [...]

  • FILE - In this April 5,

    Eliza Dushku Received $9.5 Million Settlement Over Misconduct on 'Bull' Set

    Eliza Dushku received a $9.5 million settlement from CBS after the actress alleged she was the subject of several inappropriate comments on the set of “Bull,” according to the New York Times. Dushku appeared in the first season of the procedural, initially being brought on for a three-episode arc with plans to make her a [...]

  • Jingle Punks Jingle Player

    Jingle Punks at 10: How the Production Music Platform's Player Works

    Though its primary function is creative, Jingle Punks is built on a foundation of technology and administration. The patented Jingle Player that lets customers search for music using pop culture terms is both intuitive and efficient. Typing in “Reservoir Dogs” or “Starbucks” generates suggestions. Queries are monitored “so if there isn’t an exact match, we’ll suggest [...]

  • Star Trek: Discovery

    TV Roundup: 'Star Trek: Discovery' Season 2 Premiere Date Set at CBS All Access

    In today’s TV News Roundup, the premiere date is announced for season two of “Star Trek: Discovery” on CBS All Access. FIRST LOOKS “Relics and Rarities,” a new RPG series based on the classic game Dungeons & Dragons, will premiere on subscription service Alpha in February 2019. Hosted by Deborah Ann Woll (“Daredevil,” “True Blood”) [...]

  • Logan Lerman

    Logan Lerman in Talks to Star in Jordan Peele's 'The Hunt' at Amazon

    Jordan Peele’s upcoming Nazi hunter drama at Amazon, “The Hunt,” has potentially found its lead. Logan Lerman is in talks to star in the drama series as Jonah Heidelbaum. When his grandmother is slain by a mysterious intruder in their apartment, Jonah sets out to track the culprit, only to find himself swept up in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content