Touchstone Television (1985-2007)

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

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 (now ABC Signature) 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 ended.



1st Logo (March 21-April 25, 1985)


Visuals: Just a still shot of the 1984-1985 Touchstone Films logo, except "TELEVISION" replaces "FILMS".

Technique: A still image.

Audio: The ending theme of the show.

Availability:

  • Only seen on the ABC series Wildside.
  • It can also be found on VHS releases of said show.

2nd Logo (September 14, 1985-October 2004)

Visuals: 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-Late 1987: "TOUCHSTONE PICTURES"
  • A longer version of the 1986 logo exists on the Fox TV show adaptation of Down and Out in Beverly Hills, a medium-length version appeared on the ABC show Harry.
  • 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 2001. This version had a 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. The original filmed version could still be seen on season 2 episodes of Monk.
  • An alternate version of the enhanced variant exists, where the flash is pointed to the right. This can be seen on Less Than Perfect, MDs, According to Jim, and My Wife and Kids, among others.
  • 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 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 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 late 1987 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 numerous 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 Line of Fire, except it fades out shortly after the streak 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.
  • This logo was entirely "blacked-out" on a Laff rerun of the Home Improvement episode "Super Bowl Fever" (Season 4, Episode 15), but its audio still remained. 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 also exists, likely due to botched letterboxing. This appears on the season 1 Monk episode "Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum."
  • Sometimes, it shares the screen with other logos.

Technique: 2D animation done by the animation division of Walt Disney Productions, now Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Audio: A short descending piano with bells on the collision. Composed by John Beasley using a Kurzweil K250 sampler. A longer, extended version of it also exists: it descends longer and starts at a high pitch (à la New Line Cinema).

Audio Variants:

  • The Oldest Rookie has the last half of the Touchstone Pictures theme.
  • Occasionally, the ending theme of the show is used.
  • Sometimes, it can be silent.
  • 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 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 two seasons of 8 Simple Rules (for Dating My Teenage Daughter), the last part of the jangle pop theme from the Shady Acres Entertainment logo is heard.
  • 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", MDs and Line of Fire, only the first six notes and part of the last one are heard, and in warp speed.
  • This logo was 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 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.
  • ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox airings used their generic themes.

Availability:

  • The Touchstone Television variant can be seen on most non-kids programs produced by the Walt Disney Company, specifically Home Improvement (which is reran on Laff), 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).
  • The logo also appeared on early episodes of Dinosaurs when they originally aired on ABC.
  • 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 1990s 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 was also seen on Clerks: The Animated Series (released on home video as Clerks: Uncensored), Blossom, and The PJs.
  • 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.
  • This logo is cut-off from Tubi and Disney+'s prints of seasons 1-2 episodes of Alias.
  • This can also be seen on Disney+'s prints of season 3 episodes of So Weird.

Legacy: 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 (Emmy Consideration DVDs variant) (2003)


Visuals: 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 Touchstone logo in white to the left of the text). The text and the logo 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.

Technique: Computer animation.

Audio: None.

Availability:

  • Only seen on the beginning of an "Emmy Consideration" DVD of Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
  • It probably may also have appeared on other Emmy consideration DVDs as well.

4th Logo (July 30, 2004-December 4, 2009)


Visuals: 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.
  • On international fullscreen prints of a few early season 1 episodes of Lost, the logo fades to the Buena Vista International "Rainbow Castle" logo.
  • On the first two seasons of Ghost Whisperer, the logo is still; international prints of some season 1 episodes use the animated logo.

Technique: CGI by Picturemill.

Audio: The 1989 theme from the previous logo. Usually, it's none or the show's ending theme.

Audio Variants:

  • On According to Jim, the last few notes of the piano section to the 1989 theme are cut off.
  • On episodes 8-13 of Commander in Chief, the final part of the Steven Bochco Productions theme plays over it, right after the Battleplan Productions logo.
  • On episodes 14-15 of Commander in Chief and the failed pilot of Hollis & Rae, the second half of the Steven Bochco Productions theme plays over it.
  • On the final season of 8 Simple Rules, the last part of the jangle pop theme from the Shady Acres Entertainment logo is heard.
  • ABC, CBS and NBC airings used their generic themes.

Availability:

  • This appeared on Touchstone Television's programs from 2004 to mid-2007, when Touchstone Television became ABC Studios.
  • Seen on Grey's Anatomy from the period, as well as other shows like 8 Simple Rules, My Wife & Kids, Less Than Perfect (with the 1989 theme), Scrubs, Lost, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Criminal Minds, among others.
  • This logo was also bizarrely seen on a Polish airing of Little Einsteins on Disney Channel (as part of the Playhouse Disney block), most likely due to an editing error.
  • This was also resurfaced on a May 13, 2021 airing of the Grey's Anatomy episode, "It's the End of the World".
  • KDOC airings of the pilot of Monk also have this plastering the previous logo.
  • This or the CBS Productions/CBS Paramount Television logos do not appear on season 6-11 episodes of the USA version of The Amazing Race, despite the two companies producing it.
  • Although Touchstone Television became ABC Studios in 2007, Monk continued using this logo until its last episode.
Walt Disney Television
Touchstone Television (1985-2007)
ABC Studios