ABC Studios started out as Touchstone Television, 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 conclusion of the final season of Monk. On August 10, 2020, ABC Studios was folded into ABC Signature.
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)
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 such as the first three seasons of Scrubs. 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 episodes of season 4 of Boy Meets World and the Showtime TV special Robert Zemeckis on Smoking, Drinking and Drugging in the 20th Century: In Pursuit of Happiness.
- On the season 2 Home Improvement episode "Shooting Three to Make Tutu", the logo cuts in halfway through while the entire 1989 jingle plays as normal. A similar variant exists on a good number of episodes from seasons 2 through 6, except the entire logo is shown. However, on the S6 episode "Al's Video", the logo starts from the flash while the entire jingle is heard.
- On the season 2 Home Improvement episode "I'm Scheming of a White Christmas" and one season 6 episode, as well as two season 4 Golden Girls episodes and some episodes of the first three seasons of Scrubs, it fades to black. This also happens at the end of the 2003 special Tim Allen Presents: The Home Improvement User's Guide and the short-lived show Line of Fire, except it fades out shortly after the thunderbolt dies down.
- On the season 4 Golden Girls episode "Bang the Drum, Stanley”, the byline fades out just as the logo fades into the Buena Vista International Television logo.
- 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."
- On season 1 of The Amazing Race, the logo is next to the CBS Productions logo.
- On seasons 2-4 of The Amazing Race, the logo is next to the Amazing Race Productions logo.
FX/SFX: The flash and lightning.
- September 16, 1987-January 13, 1988: The last half of the Touchstone Pictures theme. Was used on the short-lived series, The Oldest Rookie.
- April 5, 1989-October 2004: A short descending piano with bells on the collision. Composed by John Beasley using a Kurzweil K250 sampler. This debuted on episode 6 of the short-lived series Hard Time on Planet Earth.
- 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).
- Occasionally, the ending theme of the show is used.
- Some international rerun prints of The Golden Girls would have the 1986 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.
- On some episodes of Home Improvement, the 1989 theme is off-sync (though how off-sync it is varies).
- On a few season 1 Home Improvement episodes, the jingle fades out after the last piano note.
- On most episodes of the short-lived show Popular and the 8 Simple Rules (for Dating My Teenage Daughter) season 1 episode "Wall of Shame", only the last eight notes of the theme is heard.
- On the Popular episode "Mo' Menace, Mo' Problems" and the 8 Simple Rules (for Dating My Teenage Daughter) season 1 episode "Bridget's First Job", only the last seven notes of the theme is heard.
- On the 8 Simple Rules (for Dating My Teenage Daughter) season 1 episode "Wings", only the last six notes of the theme is heard, and in slightly sped-up.
- On the first three seasons of Scrubs starting with "My Old Lady", the season 2 episode "Mom's Boyfriend" and the entire 3rd season of According to Jim, the first two seasons of 8 Simple Rules (for Dating My Teenage Daughter) starting with "Son-in-Law", the short-lived MDs and the short-lived Line of Fire, only the first six notes and part of the last one are heard, and in warp speed.
- A sped-up NTSC pitched tone version exists usually for early PAL prints.
- A high-toned version exists usually for PAL prints.
- 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.
- On Home Improvement, a bit of the chime sounds from the Wind Dancer Production Group logo trail off into this logo.
- 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 Times New Roman (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.
- This logo would come in either the standard 4:3 version or the widescreen 16:9 version.
- On international fullscreen prints of a few early season 1 episodes of Lost, the logo fades to the Buena Vista International "Rainbow Castle" logo.
FX/SFX: Same as the theatrical logo by Picturemill, 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 13, 2021 airing of the Grey's Anatomy episode, "It's the End of the World".
- Don't expect this to appear on The Amazing Race from season 5 onwards, along with the CBS Productions logo, even though the two companies produced that show.
- KDOC airings of the pilot of Monk have this plastering the previous logo.
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-March 18, 2014)
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.
- 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. The numbers were also spotted in the September 15-21, 2008 issue of TV Guide Magazine. Plus, there's the words reading "WISTERIA LANE" on the bottom of the camera crane, which is a reference to the fictional street from Desperate Housewives. Design-wise, this logo was probably the work of Troika Design Group, who were behind the "Start Here" look.
- If you look closely at the camera as it moves towards the screen, the film roll attached at the top appears to have a Touchstone thunderbolt on it, likely due to the camera equipment not having had its branding updated to reflect the then-new name and logo at the time that segment was recorded. This is more evident in higher quality copies of the logo.
- Both widescreen and full screen versions exist.
- There was a variant in November 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.
- On Ringer, there was a very short variant where it simply shows the logo in a dark background with a small blue streak passing by from the left to right. This version is also silent (excluding the pilot). Also, some original airings of Lost used a slightly extended version of that.
FX/SFX: The people moving around, likely live action combined with lighting effects, followed by CGI as the logo appears. The animation for Bolt in his variant is animated by Walt Disney Animation Studios.
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 between 1998 and 2021. Original network airings along with CBS and The CW 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.
- On seasons 2 and 3 of Castle, the clap sound plays over the music.
- The clap is omitted on seasons 4 and 5 of Castle.
- On the company's sizzle reel, the music is slightly rearranged with a different clap sound.
- Bolt's bark in his variant can be heard on the last note of the fanfare or the generic theme.
- On The Amazing Race Asia, the last part of the Ugly Betty end credits theme is heard.
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.)
- Since 2009, this does not appear on original ABC broadcasts of their shows, which have it cut out in favor of an in-credit mention for the studio. VOD and home media releases have the logo though.
- However, the logo will still be shown on original ABC airings of shows co-produced with another television studio, like Sony Pictures Television on Happy Endings, or Lionsgate Television on Nashville.
- 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 season 2 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 and Hulu 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.
- This was used as a de-facto home entertainment logo on Lionsgate-released DVD and Blu-ray releases of ABC shows beginning in 2008.
- Don't expect to see this logo on later episodes of The Amazing Race (along with the CBS Television Studios logo) and the short-lived 2012 drama series Missing, despite the company producing both shows.
Editor's Note: The dramatic orchestra music may get to some.
3rd Logo (September 2013-October 2020, April 8, 2022)
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 (set in ABC's custom typeface, ABC Modern), 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.
- An extended variant is used as the home entertainment logo at the beginning of all current DVD/Blu-ray box sets of ABC Studios shows released by Disney.
- 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 over a blue background.
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 dramatic string note and drum beat. 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 is seen on the extended variant.
Availability: Very common.
- Appears on all of their shows produced by this company from 2013 until 2020.
- 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.
- Still seen on ABC shows co-produced by another studio, like 20th Century Fox Television on Speechless, Sony Pictures Television on The Good Doctor, or Lionsgate Television on seasons 2-4 of Nashville.
- The ABC Studios International variant appears on Reef Break and Harrow.
- 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.
- Again, don't count seeing this and the CBS Television Studios logo to appear on later episodes of The Amazing Race, even though the two companies producing that show.
- It makes a surprise reappearance on Season 2 of Woke, likely because it was produced before the folding to ABC Signature.
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.
- A red-colored version exists.
- A yellow-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 on some international airings of Disney theatrical films such as Ed Wood and Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
Editor's Note: None.