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FMS FEATURE ARTICLE...

September 19, 2003
Broughton, Beal Achieve Emmy "Firsts"
by Jon Burlingame

Emmy music history was made on two fronts last weekend.

First, Bruce Broughton became the most-honored composer of original music in Emmy history. And second, Jeff Beal won an Emmy for his first-season theme music for Monk – the first time a composer has won for a series whose producers have thrown out the music.

Broughton won his eighth Emmy Award, in the category of Outstanding Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or Special, for the charming score of the ABC TV-movie Eloise at the Plaza. He eclipsed the record of Laurence Rosenthal, who has seven Emmys.

Broughton has been nominated 20 times, dating back to the 1973-74 season and his music for Hawaii Five-0. His other prime-time wins have been for Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1980-81), Dallas (1982-83 and 1983-84) and three other longform TV projects: The First Olympics - Athens 1896 (1983-84), O Pioneers! (1991-92) and Glory and Honor (1997-98). He also won a Daytime Emmy for his theme song for the popular animated series Tiny Toon Adventures (1990-91).

Broughton is one of the most respected composers of music for film and television. An Oscar nominee for Silverado (1985) and a Grammy nominee for Young Sherlock Holmes (also 1985), he has also written memorable scores for movies ranging from The Rescuers Down Under (1990) to Miracle on 34th Street (1994), Tombstone (1993) to Lost in Space (1998).

He has penned some of television's most outstanding scores, including the Civil War epic The Blue and the Gray (1982), music for Dallas and Quincy, and the theme for the recent Supreme Court series First Monday (2002).

The all-time record for most Emmys in the music categories in general belongs to Ian Fraser, who has 26 nominations and 11 wins for music direction on specials dating back to 1976.

Beal, best known for his music for Pollock (2000) and the current composer of the much-talked-about HBO series Carnivale, won in the category of Outstanding Main Title Theme Music for the USA series Monk, about an obsessive-compulsive private detective played by Tony Shalhoub.

The win was ironic because Beal's theme – an infectious tune featuring a Django Reinhardt-style acoustic guitar – was replaced at the start of the series' second season by a new song written and sung by Randy Newman ("It's a Jungle Out There").

"I was consciously trying to write what I would describe as a catchy, almost annoyingly memorable melody," Beal recalled recently for a Daily Variety story about the nomination. "It's like Monk in the sense that, when he fixates on something, his obsession becomes at the expense of everything else."

It's not uncommon for a composer to win in this category for a series that's been cancelled. James Newton Howard won last year for Gideon's Crossing, Mark Isham won in 1997 for EZ Streets and Martin Davich won in 1999 for Trinity. But this is believed to be the first time that a composer has won for a theme that had already been replaced.

John Debney won in 1994 for seaQuest DSV, but that theme lasted another year before it was dumped in favor of a new one by Russ Landau. And in another Emmy oddity from this category, Mark Isham's first Emmy-nominated theme for Chicago Hope (1994-95) was replaced – but by Isham himself, who received another nomination for his second Chicago Hope theme in 1995-96.

Beal also won another Emmy recently, in the News and Documentary Awards competition, for his music for an NBC Sports documentary, Peggy and Dorothy.

The other music winners in the Creative Arts Primetime Emmy Awards, handed out Saturday at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium, included Sean Callery for 24 (Outstanding Music Composition for a Series); Bill Conti for the 75th Annual Academy Awards (Outstanding Music Direction); and songwriters David Foster and Linda Thompson for "Aren't They All Our Children" from The Concert for World Children's Day (Outstanding Music and Lyrics).

Excerpts from the Creative Arts show will air on cable's E! Entertainment Television on Friday, September 19.

© 2003 Jon Burlingame

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