ABC is dusting off its classic 1981 slogan and jingle, at least for one night. “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” viewers on Tuesday night will catch a retro-style promo for “Black-ish” that includes the era-appropriate tune “Now is the Time, ABC is the Place!” It’s one of several spots created by the ABC marketing team to fit into the 1980s nostalgia that “Live” is bringing with its remakes of “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life” episodes.
“We could not be more excited to extend the viewing experience for ‘Live in Front of a Studio Audience’ and transport viewers back to the ’80s by creating a series of eight retro-themed promos for our shows to air throughout the night,” said Shannon Ryan, president, content marketing, Hulu & General Entertainment.
ABC did a similar stunt the last time “Live in Front of a Studio Audience” took place, in 2019, with a series of 1970s-inspired promos.
For this time, here’s the “Black-ish” promo:
And here’s a look at an actual ABC branding spot from the era, which the new promo is emulated from:
“Getting the voiceover and music right was key, so we cast a great VO actor, Steve French, who sounds just like one of those classic announcers you would’ve heard on our air in 1981,” Ryan said of the Ernie Anderson soundalike.
A few tweaks have been made to the “Black-ish” spot, however: The new ABC logo, introduced earlier this fall, is there — along with a mention of Hulu, which of course didn’t exist in 1981. And in the new spot, the timeslot mention has been altered: Back in 1970s and 1980s, promos usually specified when shows aired in the “Central/Mountain” time zones. At some point, the networks stopped mentioning the Mountain time zone — which, like Central, airs programming an hour earlier than the Eastern and Pacific time zones. In this “Black-ish” spot, the time zone references Eastern/Central instead of Central/Mountain.
Here are a few more promos airing on Tuesday night:
"Jimmy Kimmel Live"
"Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve"
“We really wanted these spots to feel authentic to the era and our team had a blast dusting off some of the old ABC graphics, logos and fonts from the ’80s,” Ryan said. “The ‘Black-ish’ spot features the original ‘Now is the Time’ theme music from a 1981 network sizzle, and ‘The Bachelor’ is a tribute to another classic ABC sitcom that we think fans will immediately recognize and love,” she added, referring to the ABC comedy from that era “Three’s Company.”