Touchstone Television (1985-2007)
This page is for the original Touchstone Television. For the short-lived revived studio, see Touchstone Television (2020).
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 Studio", 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Availability: Somewhat uncommon, and 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.
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.