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Replaced the Theme Tune
A self-explanatory trope: a show completely replaces its Theme Tune
at some point within its run. There are several likely reasons: music licensing issues, an overall change in tone that would make the original theme Soundtrack Dissonance
, or just a way of freshening things up if the show is a Long Runner
Compare Rearrange the Song
Related to Credits Jukebox
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- Pokémon changes its theme every season.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! does this with the Japanese version, but the English dub by 4Kids has two variations of the same theme.
- The English dubs of each subsequent series (GX, 5Ds, and ZEXAL) introduce one new theme song per series, but the same theme is retained throughout a series' run.
- Averted with Tokyo Mew Mew.
- Over the course of its two-season run, Code Geass changed the opening theme five times. Of note, is the change to third theme - it came after Lelouch accidentally geassed his sister into ordering the genocide of the Japanese & had to kill her to stop it, and was only used for the final two episodes of the first season because of the drastic shift in tone.
- Lupin III shifted the opening of each of its series from time to time, and the movies change it up as well. Lupin III (Red Jacket) used four distinctly different versions of the famous Lupin theme throughout its three-year run.
- Gatchaman interestingly replaced its opening theme, with the ending theme (and vice versa) around episode 20. The "new" opening is much better known than the original (which had a children's chorus in a fairly hard-boiled spies and superheroes show).
- Each TV series in the Dragon Ball franchise has one theme each, with the exception of Dragon Ball Z, which changed its theme after 200 episodes.
Live Action TV
- Wheel of Fortune used an Alan Thicke tune called "Big Wheels" until 1983, when it was ousted for "Changing Keys", composed by show creator Merv Griffin. "Changing Keys" was re-orchestrated several times (with Merv having little to no hand in the last two remixes) until the theme was finally retired in 2000 for an unnamed theme by Steve Kaplan. And that theme was retired in 2006 for the current tune, "Happy Wheels" by Frankie Blue and John Hoke.
- The Jokers Wild started out with Jean-Jacques Perrey and Gershon Kingsley's synth theme "The Savers". Over time, the show changed themes like crazy: a Suspiciously Similar Song version composed by Alan Thicke titled "Joker's Jive", a re-orchestration of "The Savers" by Hal Hidey, a new theme composed by Hidey (which was always the closing theme), and even another Perry and Kingsley song for a very short time. What's more, Barry and Enright also stole the theme from Break the Bank for a tournament of champions.
- Lingo used a short, looped "game show"-y music in seasons 1 and 2 (actually a remix of the Dutch version's theme), and a completely different rock theme from Season 3 onward.
- The complete opposite could be said for the Dutch version. There the "game show"-y tune replaced a rock theme.
- The Drew Carey Show. Drew's own "Moon over Parma", "Five O'Clock World" by the Vogues and "Cleveland Rocks" by the Presidents of the United States of America.
- The Unit. First "Fired Up", then a different tune by the same guy (perhaps because "Fired Up" was adapted from a Marine Corps cadence and therefore not a good choice for an Army-based show).
- In season 4, Big Love changed from "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys to "Home" by Engineers.
- Each season of the S Club 7 TV series had a different song as its opening theme. Miami 7 had "Bring It All Back", LA 7 had "Reach", Hollywood 7 had "You" and Viva S Club had "Alive".
- The original V changed its theme tune a number of times during its run.
- Auf Wiedersehen, Pet deliberately changed its opening and closing themes for each new series or special.
- Space: 1999 got a new composer as part of a general makeover when Fred Frieberger took over as producer in season two.
- The Avengers originally had a theme tune by Johnny Dankworth. It also underwent a complete makeover when production was switched from videotape to film, simultaneous with Diana Rigg's arrival, resulting in the more familiar Laurie Johnson theme.
- The change of Monk's theme tune is notable as it was implicitly referenced in-show, at a Breaking the Fourth Wall moment.
- Babylon 5 made a point of doing this every season, to reflect the changing theme of the show.
- Happy Days used a specially recorded version of "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley And His Comets as its theme tune in its first season, then changed over to a "Days of the Week" Song specially written for the show. (This was a case of promoting from within, as the song had been featured over the closing credits in the first season.)
- The Partridge Family: went from "When We're Singing" in season 1 to a similar-sounding but different song, "C'mon, Get Happy".
- Chuck went through several incarnations before settling on "Short Skirt Long Jacket".
- White Collar had a new theme for season 3. Which they changed back to the old theme a few episodes in.
- Farscape changed its theme tune between seasons 2 and 3.
- During its run on ABC, Password changed its set and theme tune for the transition to Password All-Stars. Robert Israel's synthesized theme "For The Fun Of It" was replaced by Bob Cobert's "Bicentennial Funk".
- On CBS, Password had "Holiday Jaunt" as its first theme. In 1963, it was replaced with Bob Cobert's "You Know The Password."
- Magnum, P.I. had a different theme song for its first year, before switching to the more familar Mike Post arrangement for the second season premire.
- Only Fools and Horses started with this for its first series and Christmas special. Most repeats and DVD releases of the first series nowadays replace it with the more familiar opening theme introduced in series two, though the 1981 Christmas special still opens with the original tune when repeated on GOLD.
- Simon And Simon went from a bouncy theme with lyrics from the first season to a more traditionally 80s detective series theme for the rest of the run.
- Hardcastle and McCormick started out with the hard pounding theme "Drive". For part of the second season, this was changed to the theme "Back to Back" which emphasized the friendship of the two title characters. "Drive" returned in Season 3.
- Remington Steele's first season featured the tune "Laura's Theme" as Stephanie Zimbalist explained the series premise. The second season introduced a theme based on a small bit of incidental music that played as Remington would say something like "God I'm good!" after Laura explained how the case was solved.
- Licencing issues forced the removal of the cover version of "My Life" from Bosom Buddies reruns, while certain public domain episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Andy Griffith Show air on smaller stations without their famous themes.
- Boy Meets World had a different Instrumental Theme Tune each season for seasons 1-4. Season 5 introduced a Title Theme Tune that stayed through to the end.
- The Nightly Business Report has had four different theme tunes in its 30+ years on air, all were produced by Edd Kalehoff.
- Red Dwarf switched from a 2001: A Space Odyssey-style opening theme to an instrumental based off the end credits theme in the third season, as the original theme was too sombre for a sci-fi sitcom. When those seasons were digitally remastered, they had a new opening theme that combined both themes.
- The 1998-2004 version of The Hollywood Squares used its own song "I Love Hollywood," sung by none other than Whoopi Goldberg, from 1998-2002. Afterward, it switched to "Hollywood Square Biz," Teena Marie's 1981 single "Square Biz" with new lyrics.
- In the first few episodes of Family Matters, the theme song was Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World". It was quickly dropped in place for an original theme, "As Days Go By".
- Starsky & Hutch initially had a theme by Lalo Schifrin edited from his climax cue for the pilot (link includes the pilot end credits); this was subsequently replaced for season two by the most famous one by Tom Scott, which in turn was replaced in the third season by a theme by Mark Snow, which got replaced itself in the final season by Scott's theme in another arrangement.
- Project UFO used a military-sounding march as the basis for its first season theme song, but switched to a more generic tune that might have fit any number of '70s action-adventure shows. Which was probably intentional, as the second season opening as a whole gives off a (somewhat misleading, as the show was really more of a "military procedural") science-fiction action-adventure vibe.
- Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters changed its theme tune in the 28th episode as part of a Re Tool. No previous Super Sentai had previously done this, although Gekisou Sentai Carranger did Rearrange the Song.
- Two series deserve mention for averting this trope not over the course of three or four years, but going on half a century: the British series Coronation Street (debuted 1960) and Doctor Who (debuted 1963) have introduced new arrangements of their original themes from time to time, but have never replaced them with new compositions.
- The original version of The Price Is Right (1956-65) first had "Sixth Finger Tune" (from a show called Six Fingers For A Five-Fingered Glove) as its theme. In 1961, it was replaced with Bob Cobert's "Window Shopping." In turn, "Window Shopping" was the first theme to the 1967 Goodson-Todman game Snap Judgment. A year later, it was replaced with an original Score Productions theme.
- To Tell the Truth had three themes during its original CBS run. From 1956 to 1962 it used "Peter Pan" (also known as "Nothing But The Truth"), followed by Bob Cobert's theme to 1967, and a Score Productions arrangement to its 1968 finale.
- The original NBC edition of Match Game (1962-69) used Bert Kaempfert's "A Swingin' Safari" as its theme up until 1968 when it was replaced with a Score Productions theme.
- The 1966 NBC game show Eye Guess had Al Hirt's "Sugar Lips" as its theme up until 1968, when it was replaced with a Bob Cobert piece. Cobert's composition would be reused in 1971 on Three On A Match.
- The first, black-and-white season of I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1966) used a jazz piece that only a few can recognize. When it switched to color, Hugo Montenegro's more familiar jazz-pop theme replaced it.
- For the third and final season of Lost in Space, its original theme was replaced, along with the visual design, with a livelier, more memorable theme by the same composer, John(ny) Williams (later of Star Wars-theme fame).
- The sci-fi/fantasy show Sanctuary changed its theme from this (composed by Joel Goldsmith, who co-scored the series' first season) to this (composed by Andrew Lockington, who scored the series after Season 2) in its third season, citing Soundtrack Dissonance. Unfortunately, they never changed the opening sequence to match the new theme tune, but it was eventually trimmed down quite a bit anyway.
- LazyTown staring with the season after the end of "LazyTown: Bill Thompson" & in syndication replaces its theme with an insturmental sports style theme tune for both opening credits & closing credits. This is also with the syndication genre shift from educational musical show to educational action show plus a small music budget.
- The normal theme song for Sons of Anarchy was replaced by a more Celtic-flavored version in the third season during the run of episodes in which the Sons visit North Ireland.
- In Philadelphia, ABC station WPVI-6's "Move Closer to Your World" is the station's legendary news theme; which has remained a part of Channel 6 Action News since 1972. An attempt at a grand recomposition, using the London Symphony Orchestra, in 1996 was universally panned, and after four days of viewer complaints, the old cut was reinstated, and that version with an occasional freshening has remained ever since.
- Ultraman Leo had a theme song by the same name for the first 13 episodes, then switched to "Ultraman Leo Fight!" for the rest of the show. The original theme often popped up as a Theme Music Power-Up instrumental and a snippet was used on episode previews.
- Something similar happened in Ultraman Eighty, only much later in the series run.
- The Twilight Zone originally had a dreamy theme by Bernard Herrmann - the one everybody knows didn't come along until season two, when CBS decided it needed something more upbeat. Herrmann wrote two alternative themes which weren't used, and Jerry Goldsmith wrote one which was also turned down; CBS music head Lud Gluskin then put together two short tracks written by Marius Constant, and the rest is history (ironically, Constant was never credited with the theme on the show).
- Even Bonanza fell victim to this; creator/executive producer David Dortort, no fan of the classic Livingston/Evans theme song, had his composer of choice David Rose write a new theme that debuted in the 1970-71 season (the Livingston/Evans theme returned for the final season).
- British school series Grange Hill replaced its original, bouncy, circus-style theme with something that sounded like a speeded up version of Cagney & Lacey's theme tune. As the show did tend to aim for gritty realism rather than comedy, the new one was more suited but the original is the one that everyone remembers.
- Newton's Apple switched from Kraftwerk's "Ruckzuck" to an original theme tune in 1994.
- For the fifth season of 3rd Rock from the Sun the theme changed from the 1950's inspired rock tune, to a big band cover version. It only lasted for that season. Interestingly, the DVD menus feature the original theme song.
- Both WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown have changed their Real Song Theme Tunes several times over the years.
- Don't forget about the actual wrestlers themselves. This happens all the time due to forming new teams/factions, face/heel turns, etc. As a result it's harder to name someone that DIDN'T change their theme music than it is to name someone that has.
- The Halo series used a new main theme for Halo: Reach, although the original theme still occasionally appears.
- Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow changed its main theme, but the original theme still appears as a Softer And Slower Cover.
- The Time Crisis series replaced its theme for the third installment, then heavily reworked that theme for the fourth. However, Wild Dog's theme, which contains a variation of the original theme, still appears in both installments.
- NextG Poop originally used the song "I'll Be There for You" by The Rembrandts as a theme song for episodes made since mid-season 1. However, in 2009, Matt realized that YouTube was starting to mute any episode that used that song, and so he rather clumsily changed the theme song for late-season 3 onward to "Take Me Away" by the Plain White T's. Finally, a J-pop theme was used during season 4.
- Garfield and Friends used three theme songs throughout its run — "Friends Are There" for Seasons 1-2, "We're Ready to Party" for Seasons 3-6, and the rap-sounding theme for Season 7 (but only in the US). In an interesting variation, "Friends Are There" was sometimes used as a Leitmotif even after its retirement.
- Static Shock went through three different theme songs. The first two themes switched back and fourth at times, but the third theme had always played after its debut.
- A lot of people may have forgotten (unless they bought the DVDs), but The Flintstones originally had a different title sequence with an instrumental theme tune.
- The first two seasons of The Flintstones featured an instrumental entitled "Rise and Shine" (which was also frequently used as incidental music) in its opening. Later, another piece of incidental music had vocals added, was titled "Meet the Flintstones," and was used to open the remainder of the original series. The closing credits changed later in the series to replace "Meet the Flintstones" with a reprise of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm singing "Let the Sunshine In" from one of the episodes. Trope averted in the syndicated version of the series available from the 1970s to the 1990s, when opening and closing credits were standardized and all episodes featured "Meet the Flintstones".
- Scooby-Doo: The later seasons did away with its iconic "Where Are You?" theme song in its entirety. Many fans assert that this change coincided with an overall drop in the show's quality as it preceeded the introduction of The Original Scrappy by one season.
- Johnny Test has had a different theme since its second season.
- The Sky Dancers cartoon had a different opening and entirely new background music when it was released in volumes on DVD.
- Captain N: The Game Master: The first season had some pretty awful opening music, though it ended with the infamous "Captain N! The Game Master!" During Season 2, the show was given more memorable/catchy theme music, and the "Captain N..." line was dropped. Season 3, meanwhile, used a shortened and slightly sped-up version of the Season 2 theme.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles received a brand new theme song for the "Red Sky Seasons".
- Rocko's Modern Life switched to its better known theme song after the first season.
- When King Leonardo And His Short Subjects went into syndication as The King And Odie Show in 1963, the opening title and theme was replaced by a much shorter edition. This was because it was packaged as both a 15-minute and 30-minute weekday strip. In the 1980s, the series with the original NBC-aired titles and theme was syndicated.
- The first theme for Batman:TAS was a variation of the Danny Elfman theme from the Tim Burton Batman films. When the show was rebranded The Adventures of Batman and Robin to feature Robin more prominently a new theme by Shirley Walker was composed.