Touchstone Television was the television arm of Touchstone Pictures, formed in 1985 under the Walt Disney Company to produce more adult-oriented shows and TV movies. In February 2007, Touchstone Television was renamed to "ABC Television Studios", which was renamed again to "ABC Studios" in May 2007; however from 2007 to 2009, Touchstone Television survived as an in-name-only unit of ABC Studios until the final season of Monk. On August 10, 2020, Disney revived the Touchstone Television name as a rebranding of Fox 21 Television Studios, before quickly folding into 20th Television that December. On the same day, ABC Studios was folded into ABC Signature.
This section is for the original Touchstone Television. For the short-lived revived studio, see Touchstone Television (2020).
1st Logo (March 21-April 25, 1985)
Nicknames: "Thunderball Shattering Light", "Thunderball", "Touchstone Thunderball"
Logo: Just a still shot of the 1984-1985 Touchstone Films logo, except "TELEVISION" replaces "FILMS".
Music/Sounds: The ending theme of the show.
Availability: Ultra rare. Only seen on the short-lived ABC series Wildside. Can be found on VHS releases of said show.
Editor's Note: None.
2nd Logo (September 14, 1985-October 2004)
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Nicknames: "The Snake", "Thunderball II", "Touchstone Thunderball II", "Thunderball Snake"
Logo: Same as the "Snake" movie logo, only the parts with the elongated circle are deleted and "TELEVISION" replaces "PICTURES".
Variants: It was referred to its respective theatrical counterparts during its first three seasons:
- September 14, 1985-July 12, 1987: "TOUCHSTONE FILMS"
- December? 1986-May 7, 1988: "TOUCHSTONE PICTURES"
- On some shows (especially on '90s rerun prints of Witt/Thomas shows), there would be a copyright stamp saying the year, and the text "Touchstone Films" (later "Touchstone Pictures and Television" in 1991 or "Touchstone Television and Pictures"). The font for the copyright stamp may vary.
- An enhanced version debuted in the early 2000s. This version had a much brighter flash and had a different font for "TELEVISION". This version is videotaped and was only seen on widescreen prints. Strangely, the original filmed version could still be seen on season 2 episodes of Monk.
- Like the movie logo, the positioning of the logo varies. For its first year it was in the center; for its second year beyond it was at the bottom of the screen.
- On Less Than Perfect, the videotaped variant is enhanced with the flash being pointed to the right.
- On The Trouble with Normal, it had "IN ASSOCIATION WITH" fade in below the logo, which would then be followed by the 1995 Paramount Domestic Television logo.
- The short-lived sitcom Maybe It's Me also had "In Association With" appear below the logo, which would then be followed by the 2001 Warner Bros. Television logo.
- A longer version of the 1988 logo exists, with the animation starting from right where the elongated circle brings forth the "TOUCHSTONE TELEVISION" text. This can be seen on most of Boy Meets World's fourth season, and the Showtime TV special Robert Zemeckis on Smoking, Drinking and Drugging in the 20th Century: In Pursuit of Happiness.
- A "blacked-out" variant was spotted on a Laff rerun of the Home Improvement episode "Super Bowl Fever" (Season 4, Episode 15), in which this logo's audio is played over a black screen. This is likely due to a botched attempt to remove a Buena Vista Television logo that may have previously plastered this logo on an older print of said episode.
- A stretched-out widescreen version exists, likely due to botched letterboxing. This appears on the season 1 Monk episode "Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum."
FX/SFX: The flash and lightning.
- September 16, 1987-January 13, 1988: The last half of the Touchstone Pictures theme. Was only used on the short-lived series, The Oldest Rookie.
- April 5, 1989-October 2004: A short descending piano with bells on the collision. This debuted on episode 6 of the short-lived series Hard Time on Planet Earth.
- Occasionally, the ending theme of the show is used.
- Some international rerun prints of The Golden Girls would have the 1985 Walt Disney Television/Buena Vista Television "Rainbow Castle" chimes theme playing over the logo which would trail into the still 1998 Buena Vista International "Blue Castle" logo.
- A longer, extended version of the 1989 theme exists. It descends much longer and starts at a very high pitch (a la New Line Cinema).
- In an extremely bizarre case, this logo plastered over the Walt Disney Television logo on a Russian print of at least one episode of The Legend of Tarzan (even though Touchstone never had any involvement with this show), meaning this logo had the first half of the 1988 WDT theme playing on it, before cross-fading to the Buena Vista International logo.
- On a few episodes of the short-lived series Maybe It's Me, the short Walt Disney Television theme is used. Other episodes have the correct Touchstone theme.
- The earlier Touchstone Films and Pictures variants are extinct as most shows from that time period haven't aired on TV in decades and the most current prints of The Golden Girls generally has it plastered with the later Television variant with the original copyright stamp used for that episode.
- The Touchstone Television variant is common and remains very easy to find. This can be seen on most non-kids programs produced by the Walt Disney Company, specifically Home Improvement, My Wife & Kids, Boy Meets World, the first two seasons of Monk, The Golden Girls, Empty Nest, Felicity, Alias, and Ellen (originally called These Friends of Mine on its original ABC S1 broadcasts).
- This logo has also sometimes been plastered with (or is followed by) either the 1990, 1995, 1997 or 2005 Buena Vista Television logo; an example is The Golden Girls when it was being aired on Lifetime, which had the 1997 Buena Vista logo featuring the Touchstone copyright information. The same thing also happened with Nurses (when it was last reran on Lifetime in the late '90s but with the 1995 version).
- The version with the copyright info is seen on season 1 of Home Improvement, Empty Nest, and season 1 of Brotherly Love, among other shows.
- This was used on Jimmy Kimmel Live up to the October 2004 episodes. It's also seen on Clerks: The Animated Series (released on home video as Clerks: Uncensored), Blossom, and The PJs.
- Strangely on Australian airings and streaming media prints of The Amazing Race until Season 17, this logo was used.
- Lesser known shows with this logo include Nowhere Man, Popular, Teen Angel, Soul Man, Woops!, and Homeboys In Outer Space.
- For some reasons, this logo is cut-off from Tubi and Disney+'s prints of seasons 1-2 episodes of Alias.
- Strangely, this can be seen on Disney+'s prints of season 3 episodes of So Weird. In a even more oddier case, their print of said show's episode The Muse even plasters the Disney Channel Originals logo.
Editor's Note: Like with the movie logo, it's a favorite to many for its simple, but effective cel animation with immaculate timing with the music, especially with the beautiful 1989 theme.
3rd Logo (2003)
Nicknames: "White Thunderball"
Logo: On a black background with blue glare that are moving, a blue spark moves from left to right while forming the words "Touchstone Television" in a serif font (with a print version of the Thunderball symbol in white to the left of the text). The text and the Thunderball then fade out while the words "FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION" fades in and zooms into the screen, then it fades out, with the background fading out afterwards.
FX/SFX: The spark, the text and the Thunderball.
Availability: Rare. Only seen on the beginning of an "Emmy Consideration" DVD of Jimmy Kimmel Live!. It probably may have appeared on other Emmy consideration DVDs as well.
Editor's Note: None.
4th Logo (July 30, 2004-December 4, 2009)
Nicknames: "Flash", "Thunderball III", "CGI Golden-Light Thunderball", "Touchstone Thunderball III", "CGI Touchstone Thunderball"
Logo: It's basically a sped-up version of the 2002 Touchstone Pictures logo, which animates like normal except faster. Also, "TELEVISION" replaces "PICTURES", and the text fades in and zooms in instead of zooming out.
Variants: This logo would come in either the standard 4:3 version or the widescreen 16:9 version.
FX/SFX: Same as the theatrical logo, but sped up, plus the company name fades in and zooms in instead of zooms out. On Ghost Whisperer, the logo is still.
Music/Sounds: It's usually none or the show's ending theme.
- Sometimes, the 1989 theme from the previous logo was used, as in the case of Less Than Perfect.
- On According to Jim, the last few notes of the piano section to the 1989 theme are cut off.
- ABC, CBS and NBC airings used their generic themes.
Availability: Uncommon. It is no longer used starting in mid-2007, when Touchstone Television became ABC Studios.
- This appeared on Touchstone Television's programs from 2004 to 2007, such as Less Than Perfect, which was found to have the old jingle.
- Seen on Grey's Anatomy from the period, as well as other shows like 8 Simple Rules, My Wife & Kids, Scrubs, Lost, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Criminal Minds, among others.
- The still version can only be found on the first and second season of Ghost Whisperer. However, international prints of some season 1 episodes will use the animated one instead.
- This was recently discovered on a May 13th, 2021 airing of the Grey's Anatomy episode, "It's the End of the World".
Editor's Note: Same as the movie logo, but shorter. Although Touchstone Television became ABC Studios in 2007, Monk continued using this logo until its last episode.
1st Logo (May-September 23, 2007)
Logo: On a white background, a black ABC circle iris in on the left with the text "studios" in the same font as the ABC logo, with a shadow effect rises up from the middle of the screen on the right side of the logo.
FX/SFX: The circle and text appearing.
Availability: Rare. Appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, season 2 of Kyle XY, and some ABC summer programs in 2007.
Editor's Note: Rather simple, but it's likely just a placeholder for the next logo.
2nd Logo (September 24, 2007-September 2013)
Nicknames: "The Silhouettes", "Silhouettes Working on Set", "ABC Camera"
Logo: On a white/silver background, we see silhouettes of people working in a studio, carrying ladders, cameras, etc. As one of them strikes a clapperboard, we rapidly zoom past the workers into the lens of a camera, which overtakes the screen. There we see the ABC logo, in 3D with a "glossy" texture, with "studios" next to it, in a dark background with a small blue streak passing by, similar to the "Start Here" graphics from the 2007 fall season.
Trivia: The whole logo appears to be a throwback to the classic 1962 "An ABC Presentation" camera logo. At the beginning of the logo, the numbers 4, 8, 15, and 16 appear on the clapper, then 15 and 16 change to 23 and 42. These are the recurring numbers from Lost. Design-wise, this logo was probably the work of Troika Design Group, who were behind the "Start Here" look.
- Both widescreen and full screen versions exist.
- There was a variant in 2008 where Bolt (from the Walt Disney Animation Studios movie of the same name) was shown in the camera lens then barks loudly and looks at the camera.
FX/SFX: The people moving around and the 3-D ABC logo shining. In the Bolt variant, Bolt barks at the end.
Music/Sounds: A bass drum "boom" heard simultaneously with the clapperboard, then an uplifting, 5-note orchestration, mixed with chimes. The first four notes are from the ABC jingle that been used since 1998. Original network airings along with CBS airings use their generic themes.
- There is a longer version of the theme that also lacks the chimes.
- On season 1 episodes of Castle (excluding the pilot), only the clap sound of the clapper is heard. This is due to an audio mixing error; the music in the left/right channels of the 5.1 soundtrack is missing, and only the clap in the center channel remains.
Availability: Somewhat uncommon. This logo is no longer used as of September 2013.
- It's on just about any show produced by ABC before 2013 (i.e. Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Scrubs etc.), excluding the ABC broadcasts which have it cut out in favor of an in-credit mention for the studio (since 2009); VOD and home media releases have the logo though.
- It can also be seen on Criminal Minds and Ghost Whisperer on CBS, and other ex-Touchstone shows (except for post-2007 episodes of Monk).
- A shorter widescreen version was seen on S2 of Dirt on FX.
- The version with the music was last seen on Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC and the short-lived Legend of the Seeker in syndication. It still appears on repeats of According to Jim on Laff and Castle in local syndication.
- It oddly plasters the Touchstone Television logo on ABC.com's prints of Felicity.
- The Bolt variant is extinct and was only seen on airings of shows in November 2008 to promote the film's release. Aside from an [Entertainment Weekly article] about the variant, no other known captures or videos of it are known to exist.
- This was used as a de-facto home entertainment logo on DVD and Blu-ray releases of ABC shows beginning in 2008.
Editor's Note: None.
3rd Logo (September 2013-October 2020)
Logo: On a dark, murky background, a pale yellow spotlight fades in, moving towards the top-right of the screen. It flashes brightly for a moment, and some of its light morphs into the 2013 ABC logo and the word "studios", now in a different font, written next to it. The word and logo shine and zoom in. The spotlight continues to move towards the corner, gradually fading out, leaving just the ABC logo and "studios" written on the once again murky background.
- Early Variant: The spotlight and tint on the ABC logo are red.
- There is a variant in which the light and ABC Studios logo simply fade and zoom in. This version looks much cheaper.
- For ABC Studios International, it's the still ABC Studios logo on a black background, with the word "international" below "studios".
- On Harrow, it appears in-credit.
FX/SFX: The spotlight shining and moving, the logo and word fading, shining and zooming in. Awesome CGI from Loyalkaspar.
Music/Sounds: A light 6-note synthesized glockenspiel tune, followed by a deep string note. For the prototype, it's silent.
- Sometimes, the music from the previous logo is heard.
- On some shows like Inhumans, only the glockenspiel is heard.
- Starting with Agent Carter, the theme is slightly slowed-down.
- Network airings have its generic theme.
- An extended version of the theme exists. This can be found at the beginning of all current DVD/Blu-ray box sets of ABC Studios shows released by Disney.
Availability: Very common.
- The standard pale yellow version appears on current episodes of ABC shows, such as Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Betrayal.
- The red version appeared on early episodes of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Again, not on the actual ABC broadcasts of said shows, which have the in-credit mention.
- The ABC Studios International variant appears on Reef Break and may also appears on international prints of some Hallmark Channel TV movies as well, especially those produced by Johnson Production Group and some Brad Krevoy Television productions as well.
- Last known new usage was on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in October 2020. As of October 7, Kimmel is now credited to ABC Signature.
- Like the last logo, this was also used as a de-facto home entertainment logo on ABC DVDs and Blu-rays beginning in 2013.
Editor's Note: None.
4th Logo (2016-2020)
Logo: We see the ABC logo (in gray tones) zooming out to the left part of the screen, showing the word "studios" with a flash below (which gradually disappear) on a gray background with a glow.
Variant: A red-colored version exists.
FX/SFX: The logo zooming out and the flash.
Music/Sounds: None, but on Amazon Prime prints of Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy a PAL-pitched version of the 3rd logo's theme is used.
Availability: Quite rare. So far seen at the beginning of international prints of ABC shows such as Once Upon a Time, as well as international airings of Disney theatrical films such as Ed Wood and Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
Editor's Note: None.