Hawaii Five-0: Rebooting the theme

CBS CMO George Schweitzer discusses how the network is using the iconic series' well-known theme song to promote this year's remake.


"Hawaii Five-0" premiered as a two-hour movie on CBS on Friday, September 20, 1968. It was one of 24 new series that made its network television debut that year--others included "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in," "The Mod Squad," "Adam-12," and "Here's Lucy." With 12 seasons, "Hawaii Five-0" went on to be one of the second longest-running series of its class (second only to another little CBS show you might know called "60 Minutes").

As we embarked upon rebooting the franchise, we took great measures to develop a show that the audience wants to see, while honoring the iconic series that has become a part of America's social fabric. People invoke "Hawaii Five-0" as a cultural reference to all things related to Hawaii, surfing, and police. But perhaps more than anything, when people think of "Hawaii Five-0," they think of the theme song.

In fact, our research shows that even young people who are not familiar with the original series tend to know the song. Written by Morton Stevens, the director of music for CBS West Coast operations, and popularized by the instrumental group The Ventures, the "Hawaii Five-0" score is one of the most memorable television themes of all time. So when it came time to rerecord it, our goal was pretty clear: DON'T MESS IT UP!

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at how we went about it:

In addition to an extensive radio and out-of-home campaign featuring the song as a key character, we've put together a bevy of other theme-song related promotions. Here are just a few for your participation and enjoyment. Aloha!

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